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Massachusetts grid to invest to meet 21st century energy needs

Part of National Grid’s funding will go to ensure greater access to EV charging

Continuing its commitment to meet the evolving energy needs of its 1.3 million Massachusetts customers, National Grid has filed a request with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to update its electric distribution rates and make significant investments in emerging clean energy technologies.

In its proposal, the company outlines investments in reliability and storm response, energy storage projects that contribute to grid flexibility, and infrastructure to facilitate greater access to electric vehicle charging, as well as an increase in the low income discount and a new rate structure that introduces predictability in what National Grid will charge for distribution service.

The company’s proposal requests approval to set new distribution rates that would add approximately 2.6%, or US$4.07, to the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 600 kWh of electricity. To ensure the company invests, operates, and maintains its distribution system wisely, the proposal will undergo a thorough review process that typically lasts 10 months. If approved, the proposals would take effect October 1, 2019, with new bills being issued starting November 1, 2019.

The filing includes a five-year programme to increase electric vehicle charging availability, along with Up to 14 MW/56 MWh of energy storage projects.

“Our request outlines important investments that would allow the company to continue providing safe, reliable power to our 1.3 million customers,” said president of National Grid in Massachusetts Marcy Reed. “This proposal strikes the right balance by seeking to fund programs that further the clean energy transition, provide greater assistance to income-eligible customers and reset rates with a modest bill impact.”

National Grid invested US$265 million in electric infrastructure in 2016 and US$306 million in 2017. The company’s projected annual investment over the next three years is approximately at the same level as 2017.

National Grid incurs costs that it has limited or no control over, such as inflation, equipment, health care expenses, and storms. In Massachusetts, distribution rates are based on actual investments in the equipment needed to distribute electricity, along with operation and maintenance costs, from a recent year.

National Grid’s current distribution rates reflect the cost of doing business for the year ended June 30, 2015. This proposal would update distribution rates to reflect the cost of doing business for the year ending December 31, 2017.

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