PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee released the following statement on today’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ruling on the electricity rates, utilization of funds to credit and reduce constituents’ utility bills and suspension of the customer charge.
“Since Rhode Island Energy’s announcement of the proposed electricity rate increases, I have urged the PUC to explore all opportunities to minimize utility bill impacts this winter season. My Administration has pursued state funding opportunities to help reduce constituents’ utility bills. In August, I announced with the Office of Energy Resources that $3.8 million in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds would be used to provide direct rate relief to approximately 39,000 of our most vulnerable constituents. With the $3.8 million in RGGI funding and $32 million in settlement credits with the Attorney General, we have effectively eliminated the impact for our most vulnerable constituents, and they will not see an increase in their overall electric bills when compared to last winter. This was highlighted by the PUC Commissioners today.
“I am also pleased the PUC suspended the customer charge for a six-month period. I had strongly advocated for the suspension of that charge. This will provide additional rate relief to residential and small businesses.
“While the PUC issued its ruling today, I am continuing to pursue all state and federal funding opportunities to help reduce constituents’ utility and heating fuel bills, including the following:
Communicated with the federal Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm for the need to increase Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding and ensuring that all heating assistance fuel funds are allocated to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services prior to the start of the winter season.
Introducing legislation, the first week of the legislative session, to suspend the state’s 4 percent gross receipt tax on constituents’ electricity bills through the April 2023 utility billing period, which is the last month that winter electricity rates will be reflected in constituents’ utility bills. I will respectfully request the Speaker of the House and Senate President pass this legislation in January to provide additional utility rate relief to our households and businesses.”
Statement from House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio:
“We remain committed to providing meaningful utility cost relief for Rhode Island’s overburdened families and businesses. Governor McKee’s proposal to suspend the state’s 4 percent gross receipt tax will be reviewed by the General Assembly, and we will be exploring other additional legislative options to accomplish this goal.”