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PUC to Vote on Ending National Grid 'Billing Adjustment'; McKee Intervened on Behalf of Small Business

PROVIDENCE, R.I. The Public Utilities Commission is expected to decide Wednesday whether to eliminate the so-called "billing adjustment" that has cost National Grid customers about $1.5 million so far this year after they switched to competitive electricity suppliers.

As co-chairman of the Small Business Advocacy Council, Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee intervened in the case before the PUC on behalf of small businesses, which face some of the highest energy costs in the nation. He advocated for elimination of the adjustment, which can run hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars and is a barrier to a robust competitive electricity marketplace.

A more competitive marketplace could mean millions of dollars in potential savings for small business owners and residential customers, who are seeking relief from high energy bills. Rhode Islanders will pay an estimated $105 million more for electricity this year after a steep rate hike in January.

All of the parties in the case, including the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, the Office of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and even National Grid, support eliminating the billing adjustment. Massachusetts and New Hampshire recently dropped the adjustment, which is a bill recalculation to cover the difference between the default basic service fixed-rate paid by customers and the actual, variable rate National Grid pays for the electricity.

"The billing adjustment is a barrier to creating a robust competitive electricity marketplace, and ratepayers are desperate for relief," said Lt. Governor McKee. "We must boost business friendliness in Rhode Island, and eliminating the adjustment will help open the door to the kind of true competition that could provide significant savings to small business owners and other customers."

The Lt. Governor added: "If the PUC doesn't drop the adjustment, as Massachusetts and New Hampshire recently did, Rhode Island small businesses will be left at a competitive disadvantage."

The PUC heard testimony on the billing adjustment in early June and is scheduled to render a decision at an open meeting on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The meeting will take place at 1 p.m. at Commission headquarters at 89 Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick.

Media Contact: Erika Niedowski, erika.niedowski@ltgov.ri.gov, 401-222-1445

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