National Grid has proposed new electric distribution rates that include a four-tier charge for residential customers, and a new “access fee” for some DG customers. The revenue-neutral proposal comes in response to a 2014 law that also created Rhode Island’s RE Growth Program Act. The law required the Public Utilities Commission to consider rate-design and distribution cost allocation among rate classes due to net metering and a changing distribution system that will include more distributed energy resources, including DG.
National Grid’s proposal aims “to begin to move towards fair, equitable and reasonable rates for electric distribution service across all customers and to reflect the actual relative cost to serve each customer, both those with and without DG.” Highlights of National Grid’s proposal include:
- Reducing the amount of its revenue requirement recovered through variable (kWh) charges and increasing the amount recovered through customer and/or demand (kW) charges, but creating an incentive for customers to conserve energy.
- Implementing tiered customer charges for Residential Rate A-16 and Small Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Rate C-06 customers. For Rate A-16, the standard residential rate, the current monthly fixed charge is $5.00. The proposed monthly fixed charge would rise to $5.25 for monthly usage up to 250 kWh; to $8.50 for monthly usage from 251 kWh up to 750 kWh; to $13.00 for usage from 751 kWh up to 1,200 kWh; and to $18.00 for usage exceeding 1,200 kWh. For Rate C-06, the current monthly fixed charge is $10.00. The proposed monthly fixed charge would rise to $10.50 for monthly usage up to 100 kWh; to $11.75 for usage from 101 kWh up to 700 kWh; to $17.50 for usage from 701 kWh to 2,000 kWh; and to $26.00 for usage exceeding 2,000 kWh.
- Creating a capacity-based “access fee” applicable to stand-alone DG systems (i.e., DG systems directly connected to the distribution system that have no associated on-site load), for any DG system enrolled in any DG program (i.e., QFs, net-metered facilities, RE Growth Program projects, and DG Standard Contract projects) or any new programs approved in the future by the state. For primary voltage, the fee is $5/kW. For secondary voltage, the fee is $7.25/kW.