Rep. Morales to PUC: Reject outrageous electric rate hike
STATE HOUSE – Rep. David Morales today voiced his strong opposition to electric rate hikes proposed by Rhode Island Energy for this winter and urged state regulators to reject them while also calling on RI Energy to do more to economically support ratepayers.
The rate requests filed with the Public Utilities Commission by the electric company that serves most of Rhode Island would more than double the current rate, resulting in electric bills that are higher by nearly 50%. A typical household that uses 500 kilowatt hours a month would see its monthly electric bill jump 47%, from $111 to $163. The proposed rate is the highest rate since at least 2000.
Representative Morales is urging the Public Utilities Commission to reject the rate increases, saying the proposed rate will place an untenable burden on households, particularly low-income and working families already struggling with an increasing cost of living and months of record-high gasoline prices.
“It is unconscionable for a for-profit company to claim that it has no choice but to demand that Rhode Islanders pay about 50% more for electricity this winter. Across Rhode Island, working families, elderly people, disabled individuals and low-income households are already stretched to the breaking point to afford basic living expenses. This proposal will leave tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders racking up utility debt that they simply cannot pay, which will ultimately result in them having their electricity shut off. That’s a dangerous and disastrous outcome that we absolutely can predict, and have a duty to prevent. The PUC needs to stand up for Rhode Islanders and refuse this outrageous rate hike. In addition, the PUC has the responsibility to urgently begin distributing the $32.5 million in electric ratepayer bill credits that were agreed to as a part of a recent settlement with RI Energy,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence). “At the same time, I’m calling on our new utility company worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Rhode Island Energy, to truly demonstrate their commitment to our community by directly absorbing some of the increasing electricity costs in order to reduce proposed rate increases on working people. While I recognize that external market forces are a major reason for increasing energy costs and the motive for these proposed rate hikes, let’s be absolutely clear, there are existing solutions that the PUC and RI Energy can adopt to prevent these record-breaking rate hikes that are going to hurt working people and lower-income households. I urge the PUC and RI Energy to be thoughtful and prioritize the needs of Rhode Islanders because basic utilities are a human right.”