PROVIDENCE, RI -- Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee announced today that his office has been successful in helping to negotiate a settlement that will provide an additional $7.9 million in utility rate relief to Rhode Islanders. The multi-million-dollar settlement compensates ratepayers for over-collections made by National Grid after Congress passed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that reduced National Grid's federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.
The settlement in Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Docket 4808 between the Lt. Governor's Office, the Office of Energy Resources, the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers and National Grid provides approximately $7.9 million in savings for National Grid electric and natural gas customers in Rhode Island. The savings will come in the form of a 12-month reduction to utility rates. This reduction begins in July 2019 for electricity customers and November 2019 for gas customers. The PUC approved the settlement on Friday, May 17, 2019.
"As Lt. Governor, I am committed to representing the interests of Rhode Island ratepayers over the interests of National Grid's international shareholders. I embarked on this effort over a year ago to ensure that corporate savings realized from federal tax cuts would benefit hardworking Rhode Islandersówith persistence, we succeeded," said Lt. Governor McKee. "I thank Governor Raimondo, Representative Brian Kennedy and Senator William Conley, Jr. for helping us return millions of dollars to ratepayers."
The Lt. Governor's announcement is the result of a collaborative, two-year effort that will provide approximately $33 million of utility rate relief to Rhode Islanders.
The effort began in January 2018 when Lt. Governor McKee sent a letter to PUC calling for a rollback of National Grid's current and proposed rates in the wake of the federal corporate tax reduction. Later that month, National Grid agreed to lower proposed rates by $25 million.
Lt. Governor McKee continued to call for the reduction of current rates retroactive to January 1, 2018 when the federal corporate tax cut went into effect. The General Assembly supported the effort to return additional corporate savings to ratepayers by passing resolutions sponsored by Representative Brian P. Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) and Senator William J. Conley, Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).
Lt. Governor McKee will continue to advocate for his legislation pending before the General Assembly that can return millions of additional dollars to ratepayers: The Utility Service Restoration Act (S-810) and new consumer protection safeguards for third-party energy supply companies (H-5678, S-399).