However, the DPU cut the rate increase requested by the utility by 24 percent. While National Grid originally had requested $143 million and then cut its proposal $133.2 million, the utility will instead receive $101 million.
The utility serves 1.3 million customers statewide. As of October 1, when the new rate became effective, the average residential electric customer will pay about 7 percent more on his or her monthly bill.
According to the local Worcester Telegram, DPU Chairman Angela M. O’Connor said regulators struck an appropriate balance between safe and reliable electric service and minimizing cost impacts on customers.
The money is needed, National Grid said, to pay for improvements to its facilities and to harden infrastructure in advance of winter storms.
After the news was released, the Energy Freedom Coalition of America (EFCA), a national consumer advocacy organization, lauded the decision. “We applaud the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for its thoughtful and farsighted vision of the state’s energy future,” said Jon Wellinghoff, chief policy officer at EFCA member company SolarCity. “Such well-reasoned policymaking will ensure that all Massachusetts residents and businesses are able to benefit from distributed generation.”