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National Grid says supply costs, cold temperatures impacted winter electric rate spikes

Gino Geruntino
Ken Daly, president of National Grid NY, speaks during an energy symposium in East Syracuse Friday.

For some people living in central and northern New York, this past winter wasn’t just cold and snowy, it was expensive too. The higher electric rates many customers were saddled with even prompted Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to call for a federal investigation last week into whether or not consumers were being unfairly overcharged.

While at the 10th Annual Symposium on Energy in East Syracuse Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York, said that he shares the pain that many consumers felt when they received their bills during the coldest parts of the season.

“Unfortunately, this winter on the commodity, the supply portion of the bill, not the National Grid portion, but the portion we get from the markets, it did go up significantly," Daly said. "Why? The cold winter, the much higher usage. So we’re very concerned.”

Daly says the company saw a major increase in the cost of its supplies and had to pass them on to customers.

“In February, we chose not to pass on the entire increase to our customers," Daly explained. "So National Grid absorbed that increase and will recover it at a later period of time over a much longer cycle. So that was step one to try to mitigate the impact on customers. Even with that, the commodity has gone up so much that we’ve had to try to find other mechanisms.”

Daly says National Grid is looking for solutions to keep prices low, and he says the company is looking toward further investments in infrastructure to bring in more cheap energy and keep up with rising demand during the winter months.

He says the company has also moved in recent years to decrease the cost of delivery charges, by lowering those rates 10 percent in both 2012 and 2013.