Cold hikes up electric rates
LAKE PLACID – There is expected to be a surge in the village’s electric bills over the next couple of months. National Grid customers should also expect higher costs.
National Grid wrote in a press release Wednesday that it will defer upcoming increases in electricity prices for upstate New York residential and small business customers. The company said the increases for February would have increased 20 to 30 percent.
“This year’s colder-than-normal temperatures have made this a particularly challenging winter season for our customers,” said Ken Daly, National Grid president for New York. “The significant increase in electricity supply costs has made the situation even more critical. We are pleased that the New York Public Service Commission reviewed and approved our emergency proposal quickly to help provide some immediate relief to our customers.”
A National Grid spokesman in Albany could not be reached for comment.
Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall said his village, which buys electricity through the New York Power Authority and distributes it locally, is clearly experiencing more electrical use due to the cold winter, and with the additional use comes higher costs.
“I’d like to give people a heads-up,” Randall said. “They might experience higher costs in the next two months.”
Randall said he is giving the warning because he is not sure if outside relief will come to assist the village. He added that the same issue appears to be affecting neighboring communities.
Peter Kroha, head of the village electric department, said he expects rates to increase.
“Basically we have been using an exorbitant amount of power,” Kroha said. “It’s been really cold. Everybody’s using electric heat.”
Kroha said the village was forced to go over its 28-megawatt allotment of hydroelectric energy.
“When we buy extra power off the grid, it costs more.” he said.
Kroha said that, depending on the severity of the increased cost, the village would spread out payments over a two-month period.
The Essex County Board of Supervisors discussed high electric costs Tuesday.
“It has just been a huge increase,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “But it depends on where you were buying your power from.”
The village of Tupper Lake, like Lake Placid, has a municipal electric department. Officials there said this morning they didn’t know if rates will rise.