National Grid said it expects winter electric bills to fall significantly from a year ago as energy prices stabilize following the spike driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.
Starting Nov. 1, customers’ monthly bills are projected to fall about 27 percent from a year earlier to $213 for the average residential customer. Monthly bills, however, will rise from summer, when the average customer paid about $182, reflecting the seasonal changes in energy cost.
National Grid has about 1.4 million residential customers in Massachusetts, roughly half of whom buy electricity from National Grid under the company’s basic service plan. Customers have the choice of buying power from providers other than utilities, which merely pass on the costs of acquiring electricity in wholesale power markets.
Electricity bills have two main components: the cost of the electricity itself and cost utilities charge for distributing the power.
In the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, crude oil and natural gas prices jumped to their highest levels in more than a decade. The cost of electricity — much of which is generated with natural gas — followed, driving Massachusetts customers’ bills nearly 60 percent higher in the spring of 2022.
Natural gas markets, aided by a warm winter in the United States and Europe, have since stabilized as customers found alternatives — including renewables and US liquefied natural gas — to Russia, one of the world’s biggest producers of oil and gas. National Grid said the cost of its supply of electricity fell by 46 percent from a year ago.
National Grid also attributed this winter’s lower electricity bills to a Department of Public Utilities decision aimed at reducing big swings in energy costs for customers.
Despite the lower costs expected this winter, National Grid said its customers should still take advantage of its Customer Savings Initiative, which offers energy efficiency programs, bill management, flexible payments, and assistance for low-income households.
The heating bills of National Grid customers, however, are expected to rise modestly as lower natural gas costs are offset by higher distribution charges. The average monthly bill of residential customers in National Grid’s Boston Gas service area will likely increase to $263, up 3 percent or about $8. The average customer in the former Colonial Gas service territory can expect an increase of about $12 or 5 percent, bringing the monthly bill to $245 a month.