Rates proposed by Andover’s natural gas provider would increase the average Andover customer’s bill by 25 percent when compared to last winter. And the higher costs of natural gas, the main fuel used to generate electricty, means you can expect your electric bill to skyrocket as well.
Eversource filed its proposed rates with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities last week, citing “soaring global demand and constraints.” The average increase is based on a home using132 therms of gas per month and would add $61 to the average customer’s monthly bill. Eversource said it is “encouraging customers to take steps now to plan for the upcoming winter” and is publicizing some of its resources.
Meanwhile, National Grid, the main electric provider in Andover, more than doubled the base rate for a kilowatt hour to 33.9 cents from 14.8 cents — also effective Nov. 1. That means a 64 percent increase for the average customer using 600 kilowatt hours to $293 per month from $179 per month last winter.
“Things have fundamentally changed,” Helen Burt, National Grid’s chief customer officer, said in a statement. “Today, under a sustained, high market price environment, it is challenging to maintain affordable prices. Given that, we think it’s a good time to work with our regulators and other stakeholders to review the process and electricity supply dynamics in the region, with an eye toward reducing price volatility and maintaining a secure, reliable and resilient energy system for the future.
Eversource took over gas service from Columbia in Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover following the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions. Bills for its customers in other parts of the state would be even higher, with an increase of 38 percent for the average customer, if DPU approves the proposed rate hikes.
“Heating homes during the winter months in New England is a necessity and as global pressures drive up the price of natural gas worldwide, we want to help our customers plan ahead to manage their energy use and overall cost as best we can before the cold weather arrives,” Eversource Executive Vice President Penni Conner said. “We are here and ready to connect our customers with resources like energy efficiency solutions, payment assistance plans and other customer support programs that can help offset some of the effects of that rising global energy costs are having on everyone.”