In the wake of National Grid in Massachusetts doubling its electric rate to 16¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or higher, for non-shopping customers, more New England electric utilities are forecasting higher rates, or have already received approval to double their electricity prices.
Notably, in Massachusetts, although they have not set specific rates yet, NStar and Western Massachusetts Electric Company expect to see significant electric rate hikes for customers who buy "basic service" from the utilities.
NStar and WMECo said that their rates will be impacted by the same forces driving up National Grid's rates -- constrained natural gas pipeline supply, fears of shortages, and the impact that this uncertainty has on the electricity generation market.
NStar serves more than 1.1 million customers in Massachusetts, including the Boston area, surrounding cities, and Cape Cod. WMECo serves 213,000 customers.
Small businesses have called the electric rate hikes, "shocking."
"It's a very difficult thing, particularly for small businesses at a time when they're already struggling with the highest health care costs in the country and soon to be highest minimum wage," Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, told the Boston Herald.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire customers at Granite State Electric (Liberty Utilities) will see similar rate hikes.
The Granite State Electric default service electric rate for residential and small business customers will be about 15.5¢/kWh for the period November 2014 through April 2015. That's double the current rate of 7.7¢/kWh.
Electric rates for medium and large commercial and industrial customers at Granite State Electric will vary by month, but will include rates of 17.5¢/kWh in December, nearly 22¢ in January, and 21¢ in February.
Granite State Electric serves over 20 communities in New Hampshire, including Salem.