PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — National Grid manipulated invoices to earn more money on an energy efficiency program, effectively overcharging Rhode Island ratepayers by up to $2.2 million, according to a newly released report.
Between 2012 and 2020, the new report indicates that National Grid knowingly delayed the filing of 48 invoices in the state’s energy efficiency program to circumvent the annual payment cap and maximize incentive profits.
The practice of delaying the receipt of customer invoices was “widely known and accepted” within the Rhode Island Energy Efficiency Program, according to an investigation summary. The internal investigation was conducted by National Grid after questions from state regulators at the R.I. Public Utilities Commission.
“The strategy was known and discussed widely within the program, and in many instances was used by program managers to delay receipt, recognition, and payment of invoices until the following program year in order to stay within certain budget and savings targets,” investigators note.
According to the report, National Grid’s actions cost Rhode Islander customers somewhere between $1.4 million and $2.2 million in unearned incentives.
National Grid was purchased by PPL earlier this year for $3.8 billion and renamed “Rhode Island Energy,” though all of the invoices in question predate that sale. Rhode Island Energy is the dominant electric and heating provider in the Ocean State, serving approximately 780,000 customers.
In a statement to 12 News, Rhode Island Energy said concerns over the improper filing of invoices have been addressed.
“Following a thorough review, corrective measures and stronger accounting controls have been implemented to prevent this from happening at Rhode Island Energy,” the company said. “We are cooperating with Narragansett’s previous owner to ensure customers are made whole. We look forward to the Commission’s review of this report and the potential resolution.”