Rising natural gas costs are expected to drive up the cost of electricity by as much as 35 percent this winter in the Boston area, according to a recent report by WBUR.
“A typical monthly bill would increase from about $74.38 to about $88, or about $13.80 a month,” said Deborah Drew, a spokeswoman for National Grid, told WBUR.
The numbers are driven by the cost of natural gas, and the cost of getting it to New England, where natural gas fuels some 50 percent of the electricity being generated, according to WBUR. “This is the over-reliance on natural gas in New England,” said Shaun Pandit, CEO of Early Bird Power, a Milton-based company that helps commercial customers reduce energy costs.
Pandit and others say there are several keys to understanding why electricity prices are rising this winter, according to WBUR. “First, domestic natural gas production is slowing after the five-year fracking boom, and so the relatively cheap fuel is growing more expensive,” the article states. “Second, Pandit says, New England’s natural gas supply lines are at times inadequate to meet demand.”
“The commodity itself is very cheap, but there’s limited transportation to bring it up to New England,” he told WBUR. “And New England, being so reliant on natural gas for electricity generation, so when there’s a problem, there’s really not an alternative.”
Last winter, there was a problem, the article states. Anne George, spokeswoman for ISO New England, which administers the electricity grid for all of New England, said that during a January cold snap last year, and then the February blizzard, demand for natural gas in Massachusetts and the rest of New England shot up. Some power plants just couldn’t get enough natural gas.
“We got fairly close to the edge in terms of being able to reliably serve the demand for electricity in the region,” she said.
To read the WBUR article, click here.