- National Grid has reached an agreement with a range of stakeholders in Rhode Island that would reduce the utility's proposed rate increase significantly, but still authorize $13.6 million over three years for grid modernization.
- The settlement increases National Grid subsidiary Narragansett Electric's revenues by $31.4 million, or 11.2%, over the three years of the rate plan. A typical electric customer will see bills rise about $4/month; the initial proposal would have raised bills $7/month.
- The settlement also calls for investments in renewables integration, electric vehicle infrastructure and energy storage. It must be approved by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.
National Grid's latest settlement is a step in Rhode Island's Power Sector Transformation process. Last year, state agencies developed a roadmap to improve customer participation and choice, while enabling the efficient integration of additional clean energy technologies like battery storage and energy management solutions.
The plan focuses on five areas: controlling long-term costs; customer choice; grid flexibility; new utility earnings models; and increased reliability. Aims include providing consumers access to commercial products capable of lowering their energy bills and developing 1,000 MW of clean energy by 2020.
The settlement, filed June 6, didn't satisfy everyone, but all parties say it is an improvement and will set the state's electric grid on a path towards modernization.
The Northeast Clean Energy Council, a nonprofit organization that was party to the settlement, had high praise for the decisions made and the parties involved.
The ultimate aim is solutions like "renewables, energy storage, and strategic electrification of buildings and transportation to create a more flexible, cost-effective, and cleaner energy system," NECEC President Peter Rothstein said in a statement.
However another party to the agreement, welfare rights group the George Wiley Center, was more tepid. Camilo Viveiros, the group's coordinator, told Rhode Island Public Radio that the settlement was a step in the right direction but "we can't accept any rate increases while we don't have at least the bare minimum of protection through a percentage income payment plan."