For the second year in a row, the cost of electricity will spike during the winter months for residents in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
As of October 1, Rhode Island residents will see a 25% increase in their monthly electric bill, while Connecticut residents have been warned that electric rates will spike in January. In Massachusetts, rising electric rates have led to the Department of Public Utilities ordering Eversource and National Grid to split the coldest months of the year for their service periods to help ease the financial burden on households.
Why The Rate Increase?
Electricity rates are rising due to the higher costs for energy, which is passed on to customers. Rates across New England are driven by the wholesale cost of natural gas—the primary fuel used for power generation. When demand falls during the Summer months, prices fall along with it. When demand increases with colder temperatures, the rates increase as well. This is largely due to constraints on the region’s pipeline network, creating a supply and demand issue that wreaks havoc on household expenses when Winter hits.
Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission Chairman Ronald Gerwatowski asserts the solution to avoiding such hikes is a greater dependency on renewable energy. “Until the region substantially reduces its reliance on natural gas generation, we are going to continue to see the cycle of low prices that span the six-month period over the summer followed by a spike in electricity prices for the six-month period that spans the winter,” Gerwatoski says.
Utility Debt On The Rise
The dramatic electric rate increases are making some homes unaffordable and leading to utility debt. The National Energy Assistance Directors Association, which represents state directors of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, reported that U.S. families have $16 billion in combined utility debt. This is an increase of $8.1 billion since the end of 2019. The average amount owned by households has increased from $403 to $792.
By the time these homeowners pay down their debt, another Winter circles around and they start falling behind once again. The vicious cycle is pricing some people out of their homes, who are opting to sell and rent in order to make ends meet.
Solar Energy: Affordable And Predictable
Solar energy is the most viable solution to avoid spiking electric rates, which offers consistency year-round and approximately 15 years of free power once the solar system is paid off. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut homeowners grappling with the news of surging rates again this Winter are encouraged to contact Smart Green Solar to discuss your options.
There’s no better time than now to install solar! Use our Solar Savings Calculator to obtain a custom solar savings estimate for your home. We invite you to learn more about Smart Green Solar and the core values and practices that have led us to become a leading full-service provider in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.