By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Citing a “staggering increase” in wholesale energy costs, the North Attleborough Electric Department will end its monthly COVID discount that began in March 2020.
According to the NAED newsletter, the Board of Electric Commissioners agreed to end the 10 percent discount at its meeting on March 29, under the advisement of the general manager and business division. Implemented shortly after the pandemic began, customers received $5.4 million in COVID discounts over 19 months with an additional $7 million in Power/Revenue Credit.
In the newsletter, it was stated that ending the discount was necessary for the department to continue providing service while at the same time battling the rising cost of energy. According to a short-term energy outlook report published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential costs rose from 13.16 cents per kilowatt hour to 14.36 from 2020-2022 and are expected to increase to 14.51 in 2023.
The report added that coal is expected to decrease as a method of power generation in 2023, while renewables will see a significant increase.
NAED purchases power through a combination of fixed price contracts and spot market pricing. The latter comes mostly from natural gas, which has seen a price increase over the last few months. Of the total energy purchased, 65 percent comes from fixed price contracts.
“We are constantly looking to expand our fixed price position with renewables over time,” the newsletter read. “Our goal is to prevent rates from increasing to customers in the short term while also studying long-term requirements for the effective and efficient operation of the department.”
The NAED’s Rate Stabilization Fund is among the ways that the department can reduce rising energy costs. It also offers rebates for energy efficiencies, such as a current one for battery powered lawn equipment.
“In many ways, the department is fortunate to be in a healthy financial position to protect our customers from “rate shock” and we will continue to have the backs of our residents as we face an uncertain next couple of years in the energy market,” the statement read.
NAED began operation on Feb. 22, 1894. It is one of only 40 municipal electric departments in the state.