News & Updates
Electricity Supply Rates Are Going Up this Winter – but you can do something.
Ampion Renewable Energy
October 20, 2022
Yes, electricity rates are on the rise. But Community Solar helps people save money in the short-term while addressing the long-term issue of our over-reliance on fossil fuels.
Okay, bad news first: electricity rates are going up…again. We doubt this is news to you. In general, Americans have already been experiencing higher electricity bills over the past year. Last winter, you may have noticed that your energy bills were above average. (Especially if you live in Maine, where customers of the two largest utilities saw an 83% and 88% increase in their supply charges in January 2022!)
But this winter, electricity supply rates are expected to be even higher. The typical customer in Massachusetts, for example, is expected to see a 64% increase in monthly electricity bills starting in November 2022.
However, there is good news! Electricity customers who join Community Solar can save real money on their electricity bills, often up to 10% or 15% depending on the state. And they can even help the environment by initiating a clean energy transition along the way.
But first, why are electricity prices going up so much?
Before you go pointing fingers at your utility, there are some important factors to consider.
The main driver of those climbing electric bills is rising natural gas prices. Since natural gas is the primary fuel source for the Northeast, the price of it largely dictates the supply rate.
But it’s not just the Northeast – or the United States, for that matter. Globally, the demand for natural gas is currently greater than our supply. This is due to multiple factors, not the least of which is the war in Ukraine. If you remember what your high school economics teacher told you about supply and demand, you know that low supply and high demand are a recipe for skyrocketing prices.
It’s important to note that the supply charges on your bill are the part that accounts for your energy consumption – measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) – multiplied by the supply rate. In most cases, the supply rate is the part of your bill that you can expect to go up. See below for an example:
In this example (using National Grid’s new electricity supply rate for Massachusetts customers in November 2022), you would owe $297 to your utility in supply charges. That’s not including the additional costs of transmission, distribution, and service charges, which cover maintenance for electrical wires, telephone poles, tree pruning, power plant maintenance, etc.
The truth is, your supply charges have always been somewhat in your control without Community Solar. You can take measures to improve your home’s energy efficiency, unplug appliances after use, or simply use less energy. But energy efficiency implementations are expensive and require upfront investment, which not everyone can afford (i.e. re-doing your home’s insulation, investing in more energy-efficient, newer appliances, etc.). In today’s modern world, we all need energy to live. And if we can help it, no one wants to sacrifice keeping warm this winter.
Luckily, there’s an easier way to save with Community Solar.
How Community Solar Helps
Natural gas price volatility only reinforces the need for alternative energy sources like solar, wind, hydro and fuel cells. In particular, Community Solar can act as a hedge against rising energy costs due to the fixed savings on solar credits. Enrolling in Community Solar is the easiest clean energy solution with the lowest risk. Signing up means that you’re taking action over your electric bill, locking in energy savings in the short term, and helping to support cleaner and cheaper energy generation in the long-term.
Unlike homeowners with rooftop solar, Community Solar subscribers can support the generation of clean, renewable energy from local solar farms without investing or installing anything. Community Solar is available to homeowners, businesses, renters – anyone who pays an electric bill!
Community Solar is a program that is backed by your state that typically yields up to 10 to 15% savings on your annual electricity spend. It not only helps mitigate cost increases in the short-term, but also helps your community transition away from costly, nonrenewable fuel sources like natural gas.
Participating in Community Solar directly contributes to the growth and development of solar projects in your state, and is directly linked to increased levels of local renewable energy generation and usage. Look here to see if it’s available in your state.
Further, you can sign up for Community Solar even if you get your electricity from a retail energy supplier instead of the utility company, so your savings could be augmented. While many retail energy suppliers offer savings, Community Solar is the only option that guarantees a fixed discount on the clean energy produced on your behalf. This guaranteed savings on your solar credits come from state programs designed to increase the amount of renewable energy generated so as to meet your state’s climate goals.
While electricity costs are inevitably rising, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. And taking your electric bill down a notch doesn’t mean you have to keep the lights off or shiver in the cold.
Instead, it can be as simple as doing a little reading (like this blog post!) and joining your state’s Community Solar program.
There has never been a better time to be a Community Solar subscriber. Electric bill savings and a cleaner energy grid are right around the corner. In fact, you can sign up in as little as 10 minutes with your electric bill in hand.