PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State regulators have approved summer electricity rates for Rhode Island Energy customers, which will be slightly more expensive for residential ratepayers than most of the plans offered through the new municipal electricity program in Providence.
The R.I. Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday approved the new six-month default rate for customers of Rhode Island Energy, the state’s largest utility company, formerly known as National Grid.
Residential ratepayers will pay about 10.3 cents per kilowatt hour, which is far cheaper than the 17.8 cents charged during the previous six-month period, but still about 32% more than the 7.8 cents charged last summer. Rates are usually lower in the summer compared to winter.
The finalized rates come at the same time several municipalities, including Providence, are pushing customers into new local programs that they argue will bolster the state's buying power to put toward renewable energy sources. Providence residents are offered four plans on a sliding cost depending on how much they want to put toward electricity from renewable energy sources.
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Rhode Island Energy's default rate is more expensive than three of the four plans offered through the Providence Community Electricity program, including the Providence Basic plan (9.1 cents per kilowatt hour plus no renewable energy); Providence Standard (9.3 cents per kilowatt hour including 5% renewable energy addition); and Providence 50 (10.2 cents per kilowatt hour including 50% renewables.
The fourth Providence plan, Providence 100, will cost 12.3 cents per kilowatt hour, exceeding the Rhode Island Energy's default rate. Under this plan, 100% of a customer's payment goes toward renewable energy sources.
The Rhode Island Energy rates begin in April and run through September. The Providence plans begin in May and run through November. Residential customers can opt-in and opt-out of both plans at any point and the math will likely change for both when the rates are adjusted again for next year's winter months.
On the commercial side, Rhode Island Energy's summer-month rates cost 10 cents per kilowatt hour. The industrial rate -- which is variable and gets re-set every three months -- starts at 13.1 cents per kilowatt hour.
A full breakdown of commercial and industrial rates offered through the Providence plans can be found here.
In Massachusetts, National Grid residential customers beginning in May will see rates fall to 14 cents per kilowatt hour compared to about 34 cents during the winter.