posted on March 29, 2014 06:17
This week, WBTA told you about why your National Grid electric bill might be double what it was last year and how one group is fighting for an independent consumer advocate. Here, Assemblyman Steve Hawley provides some tips on how to lower that bill.
News release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley's Office:
Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is responding to the extreme spike in electric rates, saying this is further evidence of the need to invest in new, cheaper forms of energy, like natural gas and nuclear energy. The steep rise in electric rates was caused by the increased demand for energy to heat homes during this particularly cold winter. Higher demand without a corresponding rise in supply causes an increase in prices. While energy costs will always rise in the winter, if there had been more energy options to increase the supply, the steep rise in home heating costs may not have been as noticeable.
“Every winter, Western New Yorkers are reminded of the narrow-minded approach our state has to producing energy to heat homes. High energy costs in winter are caused by a lack of options to heat your home,” said Hawley. “Natural gas and nuclear energy provide options that need to be explored so that middle-class families aren’t burdened with extreme home heating costs. We need to put middle-class families first by providing cheaper home heating options.”
Electricity rates are determined by two things; the market for electricity and the cost of delivery. While delivery costs have generally remained constant, the market for electricity can change drastically with supply and demand. Due to the record-breaking winter Upstate New York has experienced, demand for electricity has skyrocketed, and without a corresponding increase in supply, costs go up as well.
Electric consumers who want to do something about their rates can switch to fixed rates offered by some providers. This removes the risk of being hit by rate spikes in winter, but also locks you into the same rate even if prices drop due to low energy consumption. Individual consumers will need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see what works the best for them. Other steps consumers can take include saving energy by unplugging appliances and using compact fluorescent lightbulbs, both of which will reduce energy consumption and lower your bill.
For more information, National Grid has made an online webinar available to anyone who has questions about their rates and how they are calculated. This webinar can be found at https://portal.entermyform.com/packages/index.php?id=VFZSRk5VOVI.