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RI electricity bills to increase 8% this winter

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The average Rhode Island household should expect to pay about 8% more for electricity beginning in October after state regulators approved a rate hike on Wednesday.

The cost increase affects National Grid’s residential electricity customers, who on average will pay about $9 more each month for at least the next six months.

The R.I. Public Utilities Commission, which decides whether to approve or deny rate changes, also approved rate increases for commercial and industrial customers.

The higher costs are typical during winter months when generating electricity becomes more expensive.

The commission’s decision was made without objection or controversy, which isn’t always the case in Rhode Island. Two years ago, a large group of ratepayers protested during a commission meeting after rates soared from 6 cents per kilowatt hour to more than 9 cents.

Notifications of the proposed rate increases are published ahead of time on the websites of the commission and the secretary of state, as well as in The Providence Journal.

New England electricity rates are expensive relative to other regions across the country. The U.S. Energy Information Administration in June reported Rhode Island residential electricity on average cost consumers 20 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 13 cents per kilowatt hour nationwide.

This year’s standard price of about 11 cents per kilowatt hour is roughly the same it was during the six-month period last year, when state regulators voted to defer millions of dollars in costs to keep the winter rate relatively stable.

As a result, summer rates this year – 9.2 cents per kilowatt hour – were slightly more than last year’s summer rate of 8.5 cents.

Here are the new rates for residential, commercial and industrial customers:

  • Residential: 10.9 cents per kilowatt hour (previously 9.2 cents)
  • Commercial: 10.2 cents per kilowatt hour (previously 9.1 cents)
  • Industrial: 8 cents per kilowatt hour for October (versus 7.4 cents for September)   

Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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