National Grid bills could up $18 a month for infrastructure upgrades

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – People are getting a chance to speak out on National Grid’s proposed rate hike.

New York’s Public Service Commission is holding a series of hearings to gather public input.  The first happened at Schenectady County Community College.

A mock National Grid bill shows the portion that could go up, the delivery services. On average, that number could go up about $18 a month.

“These proposed rate hikes would stretch my grandparents already on limited income,” Katyln Curtin, Intern with AARP, said.

Curtin says the concern in her grandmother’s eyes brought her to speak out against a potential price hike in National Grid bills.

“My grandmother has always been my rock, never letting her concerns show, but  I could tell in this moment that this was an issue that was burdening her,” Curtin said.

The state’s Public Service Commission will ultimately approve or dismiss National Grid’s proposal to reset delivery prices. It would increase their annual electric and gas revenues by about $331 million.

National Grid says that figure includes salaries and much-needed infrastructure upgrades like replacing old meters and restricting outages.

“You can put different kinds of equipment in that will reduce the number of people that are out of a pole gets hit or something like that,” National Grid Spokesperson Patrick Stella said. “We have hundreds of thousands of miles of lines and gas pipe that we need to replace.”

National Grid says the money will also go towards their energy affordability program.

Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region says that helps many of the families they serve.

“Their generosity has slowed families to send their young daughters to our Girls Inc. Summer Fun Program,” Ashley Jeffrey Bouck, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region, said.

Staff members of AARP asked about seniors living on fixed incomes who may not be able to afford the extra $211 a year to cover their electricity and gas charges.

“They’re really most concerned with how this is going to hit their pocket books and I would say if you have to choose between whether or not you can eat or heat your home, that’s not beneficial for the consumer,” Kristen McManus, AARP staff member, said.

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