RI natural gas customers could see a rate increase this winter

Business News

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The price of natural gas is going up, and the Division of Public Utilities Carriers (DPUC) is urging Rhode Islanders who are worried about heating costs this winter to reach out to their utility company.

Jake Rubin, a spokesperson for the American Gas Association (AGA), tells 12 news there are several reasons behind the increase in natural gas prices:

  • The United States isn’t producing as much natural gas.
  • The country is exporting more natural gas than ever before to other counties.
  • The extremely warm summer drew more power from gas-fired electric plans.

“Your natural gas utility has a number of different policies and procedures in place to help protect their customer against that type of price volatility,” Rubin explained.

Although the price is going up, Rubin said natural gas customers won’t need to worry about reliability.

“The natural gas utility that services your home and your neighborhood will have enough natural gas at affordable prices for you,” Rubin said.

Thomas Kogut, a spokesperson for DPUC, said he anticipates natural gas customers in Rhode Island will see a rate increase of about 6.8% this winter as compared to last year.

“For a residential heating, that is a total of about $93, an additional $93 compared to the last heating season,” Kogut explained.

The two reasons for the rate increase, according to Kogut, include the distribution cost and supply component.

12 News reached out to Eversource about what natural gas customers in Massachusetts can expect.

Eversource spokesperson Chris McKinnon said the company “anticipates the global demand for natural gas” will impact its customers.

McKinnon also said the company “will be filing proposed updated rates with the Department of Public Utilities” in the near future.

The rate increase for Rhode Island will go into effect Nov. 1, but Kogut said the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will hold a hearings on Oct. 13 and 14 to discuss the price hike.

For those struggling to afford their natural gas bills, Kogut suggested they look into whether they qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

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