To pay for Gowanus cleanup, National Grid is raising rates in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island

By Virginia K. Smith  | December 20, 2016 - 2:59PM

National Grid is set to raise rates for customers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, in a bid to recoup costs for the much-needed cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo reports.

The decision comes after a much-disputed vote from the city's Public Service Commission, which is allowing the utilites company to increase customers' gas bill to cover the costs of the $506 million, EPA-mandated cleanup of the canal, which has been designated as a Superfund site. (National Grid has been deemed a "responsible party" in the cleanup efforts because they recently acquired Keyspan, a company that owned now-defunct facilities that contributed to the pollution of the canal.)

This means that monthly heating bills for National Grid customers will go up by around $9.40/month per household starting in January, according to DNAinfo, with an additional two percent surcharge expected to be added on in 2018. In addition to the cost of the Gowanus cleanup, National Grid says the $3 billion generated by the increases will help to cover "infrastructure improvements, reduce methane emissions, and enhance storm resiliency."

Local lawmakers and representatives for groups like the AARP and the Public Interest Law Project have vocally objected to the new charges, and in a joint statement, representatives for the latter two organizations said, "This liability was known at the time of the purchase of these companies by National Grid, and it's simply not fair to impose its costs on current ratepayers."

Unfortunately, it still seems that the rate raise is moving forward, but in case your gas bill sees an even steeper-than-expected increase in January, here's a guide to figuring out whether you're being overcharged.


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