Rate increases will appear on Marblehead electricity bills through December to close a projected $778,000 year-end deficit.
“We know – at this point – what our expenses will be if we just proceed as we’re going – our expenses will exceed our revenue,” said Marblehead Municipal Department General Manager Joe Kowalik. “With our current .056 PPA (purchasing power adjustment), our year-end expenses will exceed revenue by $778,000.”
Kowalik added, “To close the gap we need to increase the PPA in October by .0337, an average bill increase of $22.31.”
Kowalik sourced the projected gap to future wholesale electricity prices, driven by the cost of fuel used to generate electricity and demand for electricity during the winter months. Twenty percent of its energy portfolio determined by the ISO-NE day-ahead market from plants powered by natural gas.
ISO New England is the market manager for electricity in the region. The recent increase comes after two ISO New England surcharges. After the third now, the MMLD will charge .23 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The average Marblehead residence uses 662 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month. Under the new rates the average monthly bill will be $152.26 in October.
The war in Ukraine is causing severe shortages of natural gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin shut down pipelines into western Europe and many countries there are scrambling to stockpile whatever natural gas supplies they have. That is spiking prices here in New England
“We know there’s going to be fluctuations due to the the situation in Europe,” Kowalik said. “We will have this constraint from a capacity point of view.”
He added, “To fix that in the past, we would bring in liquefied natural gas to these gas facilities.”
Leigh Blander contributed reporting an writing.