With the recent news about the net-metering cap and the republishing to the front page of Lynne’s post “Going Solar: A Massachusetts Journey“, interest in solar power has been high around these parts, so I thought I would keep it going with some news that escaped my attention when it first came out in January.
Some background: there are two pieces to your electric bill, energy delivery and energy supply. When energy choice was mandated by the state in 1998, National Grid had to get out of the energy supply business and they became an energy delivery company. They still maintained contracts with energy suppliers, and they continued to offer consumers what is known as their “standard offer”, and most consumers have stayed with that and have not chosen a competitive supplier.
Last fall, National Grid raised the rate they charge for the standard offer, almost doubling it from $0.08227 per kWh to $0.16273 per kWh. At the time they announced that the average electricity customer would see a 37% increase in their electricity bill. The old adage that “statistics never lie, but liars use statistics” applies here – while they were effectively doubling their electricity supply rates, they were not increasing their delivery rates, so they were able to call it a 37% increase instead of the 97.7% increase it actually was.
Recently National Grid announced their summer supply rates, which have dropped from $0.16273 to $0.0925 per kWh. While it’s better than the exorbitant winter rate, it still represents a 12.4% increase over last year’s rate from the same time period (6.7% when you factor in the delivery costs). But get ready for this coming winter, when the supply rate is forecast to go to $0.24 per kWh, effectively doubling your bill! Here’s a segment from WCVB’s Chronicle program, which I messed when it originally aired in January (can’t embed, sorry):
The video shows that the high cost of electricity in MA is due to our reliance on natural gas for power production – don’t listen to the right wingers who will tell you that solar power is leading to increased costs. About 3 minutes in, they discuss the future of supply rates, where they announce that this coming winter the supply rate will be near $0.24 – with delivery included, expect to be paying over $0.31 per kWh!
So, what to do? Go solar – if you’ve ever considered it, the time is now, and the 30% federal tax credit expires next year, so don’t miss the bus! Contact me in the comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.