ALBANY, NY – The New York State Public Service Commission recently approved a three-year rate plan for National Grid customers living in upstate New York that is significantly lower than what that the company had originally requested.
The Commission adopted a joint proposal signed by the company, ministry staff and task forces, among others, which contains provisions to further the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA or climate law) and to respond to the economic conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, while ensuring that the utility continues to provide safe and reliable service at fair and reasonable rates.
“The joint proposal we adopted today allows the company to fund the maintenance of safe and reliable service, while moderating rate impacts over the life of the rate plan and mitigating impacts on ratepayers experiencing the financial consequences of the pandemic,” Commission Chairman Rory M. Christian said.
“Furthermore, this agreement is consistent with our national clean energy initiatives, as well as our social and economic policies,” added Christian.
National Grid had requested an increase of approximately $100.4 million in electricity delivery revenue (a 4.9% increase in base delivery revenue or a 3.2% increase in total revenue) and a approximately $41.8 million increase in natural gas delivery revenue (a 9.8% increase in base delivery revenue or a 5.2% increase in total revenue).
The decision establishes a three-year tariff plan for electricity and gas service provided by National Grid for the period from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2024, which allows revenues, after the application of customer credits, to increase by 1 .4% for electrical services. and 1.8% for gas in the first year, and 1.9% for electricity and gas in the second and third year, providing an immediate benefit to ratepayers who would otherwise face higher tariffs at a time when the economy is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total electricity bills for typical residential customers using 600 kilowatts per month would increase by 2.02% to 2.2% in year one, 1.98% to 2.12% in year two, and 2.24% in year two. 2.4% in the third year, depending on location. customers in the company’s service territory. Total gas bills for typical residential customers using 82 therms per month would increase by 1.99% in year one, 3.13% in year two, and 3.29% in year three.
In addition to the parties mentioned, the joint proposal was signed by several stakeholders, the New York Power Authority, Direct Energy Services, Marathon Power, the State Office of General Services and Walmart. A number of consumer groups and environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund, the Alliance for a Green Economy and the Sierra Club, were neutral on the joint proposal.
In upstate New York, National Grid provides electric service to approximately 1.6 million customers and gas service to approximately 600,000 customers.
In soliciting public comments on the joint proposal, the Commission held public hearings and received over 2,000 written comments. Various business groups, chambers of commerce, economic development corporations, and for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises have commented favorably on National Grid’s economic development grant programs and said continued investment in infrastructure and Energy efficiency is essential for continued economic growth.
The decision is the result of the substantial efforts of the parties to this proceeding. The negotiated phase of this process began after the parties had had an opportunity to present evidence and began with the issuance of a notice to all potential participants, as required by the rules of the Commission. Members of the public were given the opportunity, through solicitations by the Commission, to comment on the joint proposal through a variety of means, including making statements at a public hearing, filing written comments and leaving oral comments by phone message. All interested parties have had a full opportunity to participate in this process and review the provisions of the joint proposal.
The joint proposal received the support of nine parties, and the fact that the proposed terms are supported by so many parties with diverse interests suggests that the joint proposal reflects a reasonable compromise within the range of outcomes that could have been expected from a disputed decision. Indeed, the terms of the joint proposal propose actions that could only be achieved through settlement and are likely superior to a contentious outcome. The Commission’s action adopting the joint proposal requires National Grid to take a variety of actions to advance the State’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and clean energy priorities, as set out in the CLCPA.