Rhode Island residents who receive their power delivery from National Grid are facing a large price increase that will show up on electric bills sent in November. The increase will effect all National Grid customers in Rhode Island who have not selected a competitive electricity supplier, and therefor are on the utility default rate named the ‘Standard Offer Service’. Customers can avoid the full effect of the price increase, which will last until the end of March 2018, by shopping for lower electric rates that are being offered by competitive electricity suppliers.
Though electricity choice has been present in Rhode Island since 2011, customer participation activity has been low due to relatively low default rates. The electricity choice laws were written to give consumers the ability to shop for electricity rate plans, however if a customer does not shop they continue to receive their power supply from the state’s one major utility National Grid. For most of 2011 through 2014 competitive suppliers weren’t able to offer electricity prices at rates lower than the standard offer service. That changed in 2015 when the standard offer service increased by 25% at a time when wholesale energy prices were low, resulting in attractive savings for first time electricity shoppers.
Shopping activity had slowed in the state earlier this year when the standard offer service dropped to $0.06228 per KWh, the lowest it has ever been since the inception of Rhode Island electricity choice. At that price competitive suppliers were unable to offer prices that could entice new customers to switch onto their service. The $0.06228 remained in effect through the end of September 2017. On October 1, 2017 the standard offer service price, the rate plan that the majority of National Grid customers in Rhode Island are on, increased by 52.77% to $0.09515. The almost 53% increase will show up on National Grid electric bills in November.
While current competitive prices aren’t as low as the previous standard offer service of 6.228 cents, they are lower then the current default rate. All rate offers are provided by electricity suppliers who are licensed by the Public Utilities Commission of Rhode Island.