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In a press release out yesterday, the House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee warned there was bad news for New England households and businesses:  electricity supplier National Grid told customers that they can expect to see significantly higher power bills this winter.

The company is urging consumers to conserve energy to prepare for the cold temperatures and high rates up ahead. Due to increases in the cost of electricity generation, National Grid expects retail power prices in Massachusetts to be nearly 40 percent higher this winter from the high prices of last year’s polar vortex. According to a recent press release:

“Starting in November, a typical residential customer will see an electric bill that is 37 percent higher than last winter for the same amount of electricity used,” the company said in a press release.

pump2A major contributing factor to higher electricity prices along the East Coast is the lack of adequate pipeline infrastructure needed to carry natural gas supplies to homes and businesses in the region, the committee said. This problem is compounded by the fact that more utilities are switching from coal to natural gas as EPA regulations force coal-fired power plants to retire prematurely. According to National Grid, “With about half of New England’s electricity generation now fueled by natural gas, electric commodity prices have risen again this winter because of continued constraints on the natural gas pipelines serving the region, which decrease natural gas availability at times of peak demand, causing some generators to buy gas on the spot market at higher prices, switch over to alternate fuels or not run at all.”

The committee said the House passed H.R 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which would facilitate the construction of natural gas pipelines by cutting red tape and modernizing the permitting process. The House has also acted to protect a diverse and affordable electricity portfolio, pushing back on expensive new federal regulations that would limit fuel choices and make power even more expensive. According to the EIA, electricity prices are increasing at the highest rate in five years, and rates are expected to continue to climb as new regulations are finalized and implemented.

To learn more about the committee’s efforts see http://energycommerce.house.gov/yes2energy and http://energycommerce.house.gov/about.

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Important disclosures: The information provided herein is believed to be reliable; however, EnerCom, Inc. makes no representation or warranty as to its completeness or accuracy. EnerCom’s conclusions are based upon information gathered from sources deemed to be reliable. This note is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or financial instrument of any company mentioned in this note. This note was prepared for general circulation and does not provide investment recommendations specific to individual investors. All readers of the note must make their own investment decisions based upon their specific investment objectives and financial situation utilizing their own financial advisors as they deem necessary. Investors should consider a company’s entire financial and operational structure in making any investment decisions. Past performance of any company discussed in this note should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of future results. EnerCom is a multi-disciplined management consulting services firm that regularly intends to seek business, or currently may be undertaking business, with companies covered on Oil & Gas 360®, and thereby seeks to receive compensation from these companies for its services. In addition, EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of these companies. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this note. EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of the companies covered in this report or on Oil & Gas 360®. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s reports or Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report.