A year after Irene, RI utility rate hike is sought

By News Staff

news@abc6.com

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A year after the remnants of Hurricane Irene blew through Rhode Island, the storm that cut power to well over half the state's utility customers has been mostly forgotten. But a storm-related rate increase could be on the way.

National Grid in April asked the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission to approve a rate hike for at least three years, starting in 2013, to help cover a portion of the money it spent responding to the storm.

The utility spent $33 million and had only $22 million in its storm fund, leaving a shortfall of $11 million. Some of the shortfall would be covered by a proposed rate increase.

A spokesman at the Public Utilities Commission said customers would see their bills increase by about 25 cents a month, or $18 over three years, under the proposal.