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Legislation urging the Public Utilities Commission to force National Grid to rollback a recent rate increase is likely to be introduced into the Rhode Island General Assembly within the next few weeks, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee said today.
McKee has been leading an effort to roll back the recent National Grid rate increase and curtails a planned future increase, in the aftermath of a corporate tax rate reduction. McKee said the tax reduction will save the company more than $10 million a year.
National Grid, at the request of the PUC, is reducing its request for a September rate increase. McKee said he is not satisfied with a future rate hike reduction because the company will benefit from the tax decrease immediately. The September rate increase is subject to hearings before the PUC.
McKee began urging the PUC to review the rate increase requests after Congress approved a substantial corporate tax rate reduction, from 35 percent to 21 percent.
The company said it is lowering its proposed September distribution rate hike of 6 percent for electricity and 5 percent for gas by more than $25 million. National Grid had initially requested an increase of more than $71 million that has now been reduced to $45 million.
In August, National Grid received approval to raise winter electricity rates from 6.3 cents per kilowatt-hour to 9.5 cents, an average increase of $17 per month. Neither the PUC nor National Grid have suggested any rollback in that increase.
In Massachusetts, McKee said, Eversource electricity customers are receiving immediate relief.
Within the first few days of January, Eversource announced it was rolling back a $37 million rate increase that was approved by regulators for customers in eastern and western Massachusetts. According to an article in the Boston Globe, the rate decrease will result in almost $56 million savings to the company’s 1.4 million Massachusetts customers.
“If taxes are reduced ultimately, costs are reduced and that benefits our customers,” Craig Hallstrom, Eversource’s president of Massachusetts electric operations, said in a statement that was published in the Globe.