National Grid anticipates higher utility bills for local customers this winter

— Photo from National Grid
Ready to roll: Rising energy costs and scheduled surcharge increases will increase the typical National Grid customer’s winter utility costs 39 percent for gas and 22 percent for electricity, according to the company’s projections.

ALBANY COUNTY —  National Grid is warning customers ahead of time about what the company anticipates will be a more costly winter due to rising gas and electricity prices. 

National Grid Communications Manager Patrick Stella told The Enterprise this week that the typical eastern New York gas customer — who paid $680 for 713 therms last winter — will pay $943 from November through March, an increase of 39 percent.

Meanwhile, the typical electric customer — who last year paid around $527 — will pay an extra $116 this year, a 22 percent increase. 

“This increase is mainly due to the cost of the commodities of natural gas and electricity going up on the open market,” Stella said. “For example, out of the $263 more we estimate a customer will pay on their natural gas bill this year, $231 of that is supply costs. Of the $116 increase in electricity, $105 of that is supply costs.”

He added that National Grid does not profit off of these increases as the company passes along the energy from wholesale suppliers without markup. 

The global market for energy has increased “due to wars in Europe and an increase in demand overall,” Stella said, while in the northeastern United States, “we have a lack of natural gas infrastructure that is also having an effect on prices. Additionally, natural gas is being used to generate electricity more today than in the recent past, which is increasing electricity costs.”

The cost for individual consumers, though, will depend on a variety of factors, including how severe the upcoming winter turns out to be, and “size of a home, insulation, type of heating system, customer preference of temperature, weatherization of windows, age of home, building materials, etc.,” Stella said.

National Grid laid out, in a press release last week, a wide variety of ways customers can save money, most of which, naturally, center around increasing energy efficiency.

For instance, installing a smart thermostat, which controls temperatures according to user settings while taking into account additional information, such as whether a user is home or not, to self-tune its programming, can save customers roughly 10 percent on heating and cooling costs, National Grid says. 

Choosing appliances that are Energy Star certified will also save money, the company says — anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent in energy costs. Meanwhile, switching out incandescent light bulbs with light-emitting diodes can save $11 per month for every five replaced.

New York residents who earn at or below the state’s median income are also eligible for federal grant money to help pay for energy costs through the Home Energy Assistance Program, though applications for the 2021-22 cycle are currently closed, with National Grid reporting that they typically are available from November through March. 

Through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, certain households are eligible for free energy assessments, in which a contractor will come and point out areas of energy-waste that, when addressed, are likely to save money on energy bills. 

National Grid customers may also call the company’s consumer advocates at 1-800-642-4272 or email them at to receive customized assistance with energy bills.

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