Just like last year, National Grid customers will see a major spike on their electricity bills starting on November 1. National Grid, the largest utility in Massachusetts, has just announced that it is increasing electricity supply rates by 40% starting on November 1. Factoring in supply rates and delivery rates, the average bill for National Grid customers will increase from $98 in October to $123 in November. Bills will climb even higher as energy usage goes up in the colder months, peaking around $167 in January.
Why are my bills going up?
We can break it down into three primary reasons your bills are going up:
- National Grid is raising the supply rate it charges for each kilowatt hour of electricity you use. Starting on November 1, supply rates increase from 9.3 cents to 13.1 cents.
- Supply rates are only one portion of the electric bill. The other portion, distribution costs and fixed costs, will also rise on November 1, but only by a small amount.
- Staying warm in the winter also means using more electricity. Average electricity use for Massachusetts households increases from 555 kilowatt hours per month in November to 730 kilowatt hours in January: that’s a 39% increase in electricity used between the fall and the winter.
Massachusetts customers already pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country. In fact, Massachusetts has on average the third highest energy costs, behind only Connecticut and Hawaii. Although high energy costs are to some extent a fact of life for Mass residents, these rate increases will hit especially hard in the coldest months of the year.
What are my options
Shopping around for a new energy plan is one way to find a cheaper plan and pay less all winter. Today, there are rates available on ChooseEnergy.com for National Grid customers that are about 20% less expensive than National Grid rates. That means that instead of paying around $123 on your electricity bill in November, you’ll only be paying $107.
When you shop around, you can also opt to lock in a long-term rate, which means you would avoid bill shocks like this come next winter. Customers on our site can select 18 month or even 36 month plans with low rates, ensuring you’ll avoid the pain of a rate increase for winters to come.
This all sounds like a great reason to switch suppliers now in order to lock in a lower rate. But some may have a bad taste in their mouth from the bill recalculation debacle from last year. The good news is that’s no longer an issue, as utilities can no longer recalculate bills for customers who switch from basic service to a competitive energy providers. Customers are even being refunded for all fees charged between November and April of last year.
Want to know more?
This graphic from National Grid breaks down how much rates have increased every six months over the past couple of years, and what that means for the average household’s energy bill. While this winter’s spike is certainly not as bad as last winter’s, it’s still much higher than the 2013-2014 winter. The recurring winter rate increases show little sign of slowing due to the natural gas pipeline issue we talked about last year.