‘It’s going to be a crisis’: Nonprofit predicts major impact of surging electricity bills

·3 min read

Non-profits across Massachusetts are expecting a surge in people who will be needing help this winter because of the rising costs of home heating.

This week, National Grid announced a 64 percent electricity rate increase starting on November 1st.

National Grid is also proposing a 22 percent increase in its natural gas rates, and Eversource is proposing a 38 percent increase in its natural gas rates.

Action for Boston Community Development, which has one of the state’s largest fuel assistance programs in the state, worries that demand this winter may exceed what they have to give.

“It’s going to be a crisis. Before we know it, it will below zero and folks won’t be able to heat their homes,” said Sharon Scott-Chandler, President & CEO of Action for Boston Community Development or ABCD.

ABCD typically serves about 22,000 people in the Greater Boston area.

It’s anticipating that a growing number of people will be seeking help through its fuel assistance program, which pays a subsidy to the utility company or oil dealer.

“Generally, it can be anywhere from $800 to $1600 throughout the winter season,” said Scott-Chandler. “There will be people who never realize they needed fuel assistance or help that will need help because of the high cost.”

The non-profit is also working with people to try to cut down on their energy use as a long term goal.

“We will repair heating systems. We will bring new heating systems or covert heating systems to different energy efficient models so they can save money in that way,” explained Scott-Chandler.

The rising utility bills are being driven by the skyrocketing price of natural gas, which generates about 40 % of the electricity in the United States.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reduced supplies, and demand has remained high while global supply has dropped.

“It’s insane,” said Boston resident Raymond McAvoy. “I don’t know what to do.”

McAvoy is on social security and lives in Section 8 housing.

He worries about the increased bills this winter on top of rising food prices and other costs associated with inflation.

“I’m doing alright on what I’m getting, but I can’t take a heck of a lot more.. not increases like that,” he said.

ABCD is pushing for the Legislature to include $10 million for heating assistance in the state’s largest economic development bill.

The non-profit is also pushing lawmakers for another $10 million to be included in a supplemental state budget.

For information about ALL ABCD programs and services, you can contact ABCD connect by phone at 617-348-6329 or by email at abcdconnect@bostonabcd.org. More information is also available at bostonabcd.org.

To donate to ABCD, you can log onto bostonabcd.org/donate or call 617-348-6559.

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