Press-Republican

February 2, 2014

National Grid delays price increases


Press-Republican

SYRACUSE — National Grid has received approval to defer upcoming increases in electricity supply prices for upstate New York residential and small-business customers. 

That will help the power company’s upstate electricity customers better manage their energy costs during this unusually cold winter, a press release said.

“Costs for electricity supply — the actual energy itself — for upstate New York have increased substantially in the past few months due to colder-than-normal weather conditions and a dramatic rise in the cost of natural gas that fuels many electricity-generating stations,” it said.

Those increases, combined with far more than typical usage, prompted the company to take action to help stabilize energy costs for its customers.

Electricity supply hikes for February would have increased total bills between 20 and 30 percent, the release said, but those costs will be deferred for recovery in future months. 

National Grid is also encouraging customers to enroll in its free budget billing program, which spreads higher winter bills over the course of a year. 

“National Grid does not control or set the cost of electricity or natural-gas supply,” the release said. 

“It purchases the commodity on behalf of its customers and passes that cost on directly without markup.”

The recent price hikes for customers occurred even though the company reduced its delivery rates twice over the past two years, the release said.  

“This year’s colder-than-normal temperatures have made this a particularly challenging winter season for our customers,” Ken Daly, National Grid president for New York, said in a statement. 

“The significant increase in electricity supply costs has made the situation even more critical. 

“We are pleased that the New York Public Service Commission reviewed and approved our emergency proposal quickly to help provide some immediate relief to our customers.”

Customers can also reduce their energy expenditures by reducing usage, the release said.

Call (800) 642-4272 or visit http://www.nationalgridus.com for energy-saving tips, rebates and a list of qualified energy services companies. 

Customers who are having difficulty paying their utility bill are also urged to call National Grid as soon as they believe they are having trouble. 

National Grid has consumer advocates that can help them through a variety of company, state and federal programs.

“The earlier a customer contacts us, the easier it is to provide assistance.”