WAMC News, North Country News
4:45 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Warm Winter Surcharge Applied to Natural Gas Bills

National Grid has been able to add a weather normalization adjustment, or WNA, to a homeowner’s  bill since 1994.  The WNA is included during the winter gas heating season to stabilize the cost of delivering gas and reduce wide fluctuations on utility bills, according to National Grid spokesperson Virginia Limmiatis.

Temperatures in January were higher than the 30 year average, so Limmiatis says National Grid’s residential natural gas customers saw an average $1.70 charge.  But she adds that last year their  customers received a credit averaging 39 cents due to colder temperatures. The WNA surcharge is part of rate negotiations with the Public Service Board and is perfectly legal, according to Board Spokesman James Denn.

National Grid is not the only utility to use the weather normalization adjustment.  The WNA appears on utility gas bills across the country.  The Public Utility Law Project, or PULP, is a utility watchdog.  Executive Director Gerald Norlander says the natural gas surcharge is common.

According to the New York Public Service Commission, which regulates natural gas delivery rates, there are about 3-point-9 million natural gas heating customers across the state serviced by various utilities.