Rhode Island Energy files winter electric supply prices for review

Published on July 27, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

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Rhode Island Energy (RIE) filed electric supply prices for the upcoming winter season for those customers who utilize the company’s default rate, also known as Last Resort Service.

“As anticipated, this upcoming winter’s supply prices are on par with what we experienced last season,” Dave Bonenberger, president of Rhode Island Energy, said. “We all saw in our own homes and businesses how these commodity prices can impact a bill, so it’s more important than ever that customers become familiar with ways they can reduce their energy use and know about the resources available to them to help manage energy costs in the coming months.”

As filed, the winter price for a residential customer using the default rate from October 2023 through March 2024 would be 17.741¢/kWh, up from the current price of 10.341¢/kWh. However, this price is expected to come back down in April.

Further, customers can also expect to see a decrease in the customer charge from $12 to $6 per month on their bills effective Oct. 1. The resulting impact of these changes on a typical residential customer using 500 kWh per month is an increase of $32.29 per month, or 24 percent. Last winter the supply price for residential customers was 17.785¢/kWh, who experienced a monthly bill increase of roughly $52 per month, or 46 percent.

RIE officials point out that these prices do not apply to those customers now on a community aggregation plan or choosing to use an alternate supplier, which accounts for approximately 30 percent of Rhode Island Energy distribution customers.

Electricity supply prices are determined by suppliers of electric generating facilities, which RIE does not own. These costs are then passed on to customers without markup or profit. RIE officials said the higher winter supply prices that customers experienced last year, and will see this upcoming winter, are due to several ongoing market conditions that are impacting natural gas prices.

“Knowing these higher prices were coming, we’re grateful that Rhode Island’s elected officials had the foresight to pass legislation this year that will suspend the gross earnings tax on our customers’ bills from December through March,” Bonenberger added. “That will help decrease bills a bit, and we’ll continue to work with state leaders on other ways to help the most vulnerable.”

There are several actions customers can take to minimize the impact of this change on their electric bills. Among them, they can shop for electricity to find an electricity supplier that offers the service and price that is right for them. If customers do choose to shop for a supplier, they should pay attention to the specific terms of the agreements. Sometimes suppliers offer introductory offers or special incentives or have variable rates that often start low and then increase significantly.

Rhode Island Energy, which is part of PPL Corp., provides energy services to over 770,000 customers across Rhode Island through the delivery of electricity or natural gas.