National Grid bills skyrocket for some in Cumberland, Lincoln

National Grid bills skyrocket for some in Cumberland, Lincoln

Some Cumberland and Lincoln residents were shocked when they opened their National Grid bills for November to find their bills had gone up $100 or more.

Brittnee Capone, of Cumberland, commenting on a Breeze Facebook post, said her bill increased from $100 to $427.

Tim Rondeau, a spokesman at National Grid, said the storm on Oct. 29, which knocked out power to some areas for days, threw off the meter readings for the next month’s bills. Data for National Grid bills comes from automated meter readings taken from a van that remotely reads the meters in order to determine the bills. However, when there are inaccuracies with the meters, the bills are estimated, Rondeau said.

“During storms, (estimates are) more likely to happen because access is limited to certain roads,” he said. “There is also damage to equipment, etc. During this storm, we did have to estimate a larger (number) of bills.”

Customers of National Grid will be able to tell whether their bill is estimated by looking for the word “estimated” or “actual” next to the numerical reading on the bill. If the reading is estimated, the amount the resident pays that month will even out in the next two months, Rondeau said.

“What will typically happen is if the actual read the following month is higher than the estimate, the customer will be billed for the difference, but if the actual read is lower than the estimate, the estimate would be canceled and the usage for the actual read would be prorated over the two months,” he said.

If the estimate is canceled, but the bill was already paid, the credit would be made up in future bills, he said.

According to comments online, some people have called National Grid to schedule an actual reading for this month so their bills will be more accurate. In some cases, this may also push back the bill’s due date as well.

“I called, they said don’t pay it, scheduled an actual reading and gave me a new due date after the reading,” said Joshua Hurd, a Cumberland resident.

Residents are not happy about their spiked bills, even if it was an estimate. Some people asked why their bills are higher if they were without power for quite some time. Others wonder if the estimates are to help National Grid pay their workers who worked overtime due to the storm.

“Estimated bill? I’ll estimate my payment and we can call it even,” commented Katelyn Mancini, a Cumberland resident.

Though many of the increased bills seem to be due to the Oct. 29 storm, it is important to remember that National Grid bills will go up this winter, Rondeau said. The amount that it goes up depends on many different factors and will not be the same increase for everyone. The change will increase winter rates from 6.3 cents per kilowatt hour to 9.5 cents.

The cost of winter commodity prices for National Grid’s product is going up, Rondeau said. Because it’s winter and heating season, bills will also be higher because more product is being used, he said.

Comments

It is called GREED ! National Grid fat cats need to get FATTER while the POOR get POORER ! They don't need to raise the cost of electricity . They only do it for the GREEDY executives can keep getting money for nothing !!!! It is not only in Lincoln and Cumberland ! It is ALL of this OVER PRICED STATE ! Trim the fat and CUT the RATE !