COVID-driven Arrearages & Rising Energy Prices Increase Risk of Utility Shutoffs
This issue brief is being released as Massachusetts households approach a winter of unprecedented energy prices. As of its October 24 weekly survey, the state Energy Office reported an average price for home heating oil of $5.69 per gallon, up 72% from the same time last year, and up 175% from just two years ago. National Grid, one the largest electric companies in the state, announced a 64% increase in the prices it charges residential customers: this increase went into effect on November 1. Eversource, the state’s other large electric utility, is expected to announce somewhat comparable increases in its winter rates by mid-November. While prices for natural gas are not increasing as sharply, the state Energy Office predicts that winter 2022-2023 prices will be almost 25% higher than in the prior winter. There have even been reports of some kerosene dealers not being able to get supply at all. This coming winter will be harder than any prior winter for those who struggle to pay the heating bills as they try to keep warm.
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