Public weighs in on future utility rates

On Thursday, Jan. 9 the three commissioners from the R.I. Public Utilities Commission, Margaret Curran, Marion Gold and Abigail Anthony, flanked by a team of staff, visited Block Island to hold a public hearing on the proposed rate case filed by the Block Island Utility District.
PUC Chairperson Curran opened the hearing. “We are here today for a public comment hearing,” she said before going on to outline the basic changes proposed in the filing.
Those changes include moving from two seasonal rates to three by incorporating a shoulder season; eliminating the residential demand and municipal rates; changing when and how peak usage is measured for large commercial demand rate customers; and the incorporation of an energy efficiency plan.
The Block Island Power Company’s rate structure last changed in 2008, and a lot has changed since then — especially in the past three years. Most significant was the installation of the Block Island Wind Farm, with the inclusion of a transmission cable from the mainland, the hiring of Jeffery Wright as president, bringing in industry experienced professionalism, and the transformation of the privately held company into a ratepayer-controlled not-for-profit.

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