Forecasters predict that the US, and the New England region in particular, will see dramatic price increases for natural gas, electricity, heating oil and propane, and since Middleborough Gas & Electric Department (MGED) isn’t immune to higher costs: we’re announcing a significant increase in the purchased gas adjustment on October 1, 2022, impacting natural gas customers.
The good news for all customers is that electric rates aren’t changing, based on favorable purchases including hydro-power and nuclear energy to meet carbon-free goals.
Utility cost increases are in the headlines since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine destabilized energy markets; the impact is particularly acute for New England’s upcoming winter. For energy deliverability (the physical movement of energy by pipeline, wires, trains and trucks), the Northeast can feel like an energy island that relies on imports. The rapid growth of regional solar, wind and battery storage has helped but these resources lack the necessary consistent reliability to ensure that energy supply will meet demand during extreme and prolonged winter conditions when there are grave consequences for a failure to perform.
The October 1st gas rate increase is 57% over the current rate, set in May 2022, but a heating customer could see winter costs nearly double since the Winter 2021-2022 rate was very low. For a residential customer, the average cost for a peak winter month (December, January and February usage billed the following month) could increase from $160 last year to $314 for the approaching winter.
MGED has limited natural gas options, and relies on vapor supply from the only interstate pipeline that serves Southeast Massachusetts, as well as trucked liquified natural gas (LNG) to meet peak winter needs. MGED’s natural gas customer demand is sharply higher in winter - more than 12 times the gas consumed on a summer day; and both pipeline gas and LNG are priced at a high premium for the coming winter.
To manage the impact, request a free energy audit to find ways to make your home or business more efficient: lower the thermostat, add insulation upgrades and supplement with efficient electric heaters including heat pumps which may be eligible for MGED rebates. Explore resources like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) through South Shore Community Action Council (Middleborough) and Citizens for Citizens (Lakeville). Details are available at MGED.com or by calling MGED Customer Service Representatives at (508) 947-1371.
MGED is diversifying our energy portfolios to support decarbonization goals for reliable, cost-effective supply, and we’re grateful for the support of our customers.
If you are faced with heating bills that are higher than you can afford, regardless of how you heat your home, please visit our Assistance Resources page.