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Lt. Governor McKee to Intervene in Case Against National Grid's 53-percent Rate Increase

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Today, Lt. Governor Dan McKee announced that he will intervene in National Grid's Standard Offer Service Procurement Plan Docket 4605 in order to oppose the Grid's proposed 53-percent electric rate increase now pending before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Since taking office, McKee has visited over 150 small businesses throughout the state to identify the biggest barriers to creating a small business-friendly Rhode Island. Across communities and industries, the rising cost of electricity is a top concern for local businesses.

"National Grid's proposed 53-percent standard offer rate increase is unacceptable," said McKee. "Another rate hike is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to making Rhode Island a better place to live, work and own a business."

McKee first intervened with the PUC in 2015 to eliminate the billing adjustment, a fee that cost National Grid customers nearly $1.5 million that year after they switched to competitive electricity suppliers.

In 2016, he partnered with the Division of Public Utilities & Carriers to launch Empower RI (www.ri.gov/EmpowerRI), an energy-shopping website that allows commercial and residential ratepayers to find the best electric rates for their homes and businesses. As of August 1, 2017, alternate energy suppliers listed on the site offer pricing that is up to 34% less than the pricing National Grid will offer based on their proposed increase. Ratepayers can currently secure lower rates, though competitive prices may rise along with any increase in National Grid's rate.

Most recently, at McKee's request, legislators introduced a Ratepayer Protection Legislative Package to increase competition in the electric market and improve customer service levels from the utility company to the ratepayer. The bills are pending in the General Assembly.

"I promised to use my position as lieutenant governor to represent the ratepayer," said McKee. "I will continue to fulfill that promise by strongly opposing unreasonable increases to electric rates that burden our small businesses and strain budgets in households across Rhode Island."

Lt. Governor McKee plans to submit a position statement opposing the rate increase by the August 8th deadline. The PUC will hold a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on August 22, 2017 to consider National Grid's proposal.

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