By Thomas Grillo
National Grid customers will get a little extra time to pay their October bill.
This month’s bills were delayed by about two weeks as the utility calculated a rate increase recently approved by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) that took effect on Oct. 1.
Danielle Williamson, a National Grid spokeswoman, said 1.3 million Massachusetts ratepayers can expect to see a 7 percent increase, or $7.75 per month for a customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours of electricity. The average bill is expected to rise to about $110 a month, up from $90, but less than the average $121 a month last winter.
Last November, the utility sought to raise its distribution rates, which have not been increased since 2009. At the time, the company argued its revenues no longer cover the company’s costs to operate and maintain the poles and wires that deliver electricity to homes and businesses.
“National Grid’s rates reflect the cost of doing business in 2008,” the company said in a statement. “This proposal would update rates to reflect the cost of doing business during the year ending June 30, 2015.”
National Grid’s real estate taxes in Massachusetts have doubled since then, from $29 million to $58 million, according to Marcy Reed, National Grid president, Massachusetts. The cost of poles has risen by 9 percent and the price of a transformer has climbed by 20 percent, Reed added. She also said the company has invested nearly $1.3 billion in infrastructure “to ensure that customers have safe and reliable service.”
During a public hearing, Assistant Attorney General Joseph Rogers, representing state Attorney General Maura Healey, opposed the proposed rate hike, calling it “unjustified.” But DPU approved the rate hike, giving shareholders what Rogers called a 10.5 percent return on their investments.
Thomas Grillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.