National Grid is seeking regulatory approval to provide $4.2 million in emergency bill credits to low-income Upstate customers hammered by high winter electric bills this year.
If the Public Service Commission approves the plan, some low-income customers could qualify for up to $370 each to help offset electric bills.
Roughly 110,000 customers would qualify for $20 credits. Roughly 6,000, would qualify for credits of up to $250. And about 4,000 customers would qualify for forgiveness of $250 in overdue amounts.
National Grid has asked the PSC to bypass its normal procedures and approve the plan on an emergency basis so that the bill credits can be made on May's bills.
Customers were walloped with higher enegry bills this winter, wholesale electric prices averaged 122 percent higher than the year before. Total bills, including utility delivery charges, have jumped 60 percent or more for some customers.
The spike in winter electric prices has prompted the PSC, along with the nonprofit New York Independent System Operator, to request a federal investigation into natural gas trading activity to make sure that markets were not manipulated, which could affect electric prices.