Ian Opaluch, of WPRI, provides the latest forum for local politicians to go after National Grid for seeking a 53% increase in its energy rates. Says Democrat Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee: “National Grid’s proposed 53-percent standard offer rate increase is unacceptable. Another rate hike is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to making Rhode Island a better place to live, work and own a business.” Republican Senator Elaine Morgan calls the request “unconscionable.”
But there’s a mystery:
… Laws in Rhode Island prohibit National Grid from making a profit on the energy supply itself, and the company said the price hike is necessary to deal with rising energy costs.
In addition, the price increase would not affect delivery fees, so the average bill would go up by about 19% if the rate hike is approved, according to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
In short, National Grid won’t profit from this increase, but rather is just passing increased costs along. What could be driving the request, then?
Rhode Islanders should wonder how any reporters could cover this issue without noting the culpability of state governments. Even with fracking holding down the price of energy worldwide, New England politicians are happy to cave to activists on actions like shutting down the Brayton Point energy plant, delaying and maybe stopping a new energy facility in Burrillville, forcing us all pay for expensive renewable energy mandates, imposing additional taxes on fossil fuels, and on and on.
Morgan is right; it is unconscionable for Rhode Islanders to be saddled with skyrocketing energy costs when our country is becoming a world leader in energy production. But the people taking the unconscionable actions are those who work in the same building as Morgan and McKee. Every year, they take many steps in the wrong direction, across a variety of issues.