Consumer and environmental advocates release statements opposing National Grid settlement proposal


Contact: Jessica Azulay, (315) 480-1515
Clarke Gocker, (716) 884-0356
Cullen Howe, (212) 256-1535, x501
Rich Puchalski, (315) 476-7475

After months of negotiations, a Joint Proposal was filed Friday, January 19, in the National Grid rate case, representing the settlement position of some parties in the case. The new proposed increases are as follows:

Average monthly bill impact for residential customers
 Year 1Year 2Year 33-Year Total
Electric rate increase (600 kwh)$2.22$3.03$3.25$8.50
Gas rate increase (77 therms)$1.20$3.10$3.18$7.48
Total gas and electric$3.42$6.40$6.43$15.98

Under the agreement, the fixed charge for electricity would remain at $17.00 per month. The fixed customer charge is the portion of the bill that does not change, no matter how much electricity the customer uses. For more information see:

The Joint Proposal will now be open for public comment and consideration by the Public Service Commission. In response to the filing, some parties to the case who do not support the settlement released the following statements:

Jessica Azulay, Program Director of Alliance for a Green Economy, said: “We are disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement with the parties in this case that would prevent a rate hike and support the State’s environmental goals. While there are some improvements made in the filed agreement as compared to National Grid’s original proposal, it does not go far enough to protect low-income households and the environment. In particular, we oppose any rate increase at a time when there is already an untenable affordability and economic crisis in Upstate New York, and we further call on the Public Service Commission to reduce the fixed charges on our bills. These fixed charges, which customers must pay regardless of how much energy they use — disproportionately hurt low-income customers by impeding their ability to control their bills through conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy participation. Finally, we oppose the provisions in the proposal that support ratepayer investments and incentives for gas expansion. The climate crisis demands that we stop investing our public money into gas infrastructure and that we support renewable-based heating options instead.”

Clarke Gocker, Director of Policy and Strategy at PUSH Buffalo, said, “Low income National Grid customers in Buffalo and Western NY struggle to afford the high cost of utility bills and want nothing more than to take control over their energy consumption, whether it’s through conserving energy, participating in no cost or cost-effective energy efficiency programs, or accessing rooftop and community solar opportunities that afford them real decision making power and actual savings. The Joint Proposal filed today with the Public Service Commission in the National Grid rate case fails to deliver the kind of direct benefits that can permanently reduce household energy burdens and create the conditions for energy democracy in marginalized communities. While settlement negotiations in the case, together with fallout from the recent federal tax cut plan, have appeared to reduce the potential rate impact for customers, any increase in utility rates is extractive and unaffordable for low income customers in our community, and for that reason PUSH Buffalo opposes the terms reached in the Joint Proposal.”

Cullen Howe, Acadia Center’s New York Director, said: “Acadia Center is disappointed that the Joint Proposal filed today does not address National Grid’s high fixed charges of $17 per month for residential customers.  In contrast to its high fixed charges in New York, National Grid has a residential fixed charge of only $5 in Rhode Island and $5.50 in Massachusetts.  These high fixed charges reduce customers’ ability to lower their electricity bills by using less energy, and they are ultimately incompatible with the energy future envisioned by New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, which anticipates wide deployment of distributed energy resources and increased energy efficiency.  By not addressing these charges, these goals are much more difficult to achieve.” 

Rich Puchalski, Executive Director of Syracuse United Neighbors, said: “The Joint Proposal fails to once again look at the historic policies that have forced high electric and gas rates on low income families in Syracuse for all too long. Those living in 1, 2 and 3 family poorly insulated wood frame homes are shelling out hundreds of dollars especially in the last couple of months of below freezing temperatures.  Shutoffs will escalate. Credit will be ruined, and the poor can’t manage their way out of the bills they get from National Grid. And this is a 3-year plan! HELP.”

The public can submit comments to the Public Service Commission on the Joint Proposal at this web address:

Comments can also be submitted through the following websites, which have samples and talking points available to aid in comment writing:

All documents related to the case can be found here: