ALBANY (TNS) — National Grid’s plan to increase gas and electric rates for its Upstate customers by nearly $3.50 a month this year, with additional increases in coming years, could be approved in the next month or so.

The Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in New York, is still reviewing a request by National Grid to increase its natural gas and electric rates by $328 million over the next three years.

That increase will result in the average monthly upstate National Grid bill for both gas and electric service to rise by $12.43 over three years.

This comes as natural gas supply prices — which are not regulated like National Grid’s delivery rates that are set by the PSC — are on the rise as winter temperatures have plummeted. National Grid’s natural gas service is typically used to heat customers’ homes during the winter months. Natural gas supply prices — the wholesale cost of the gas itself — have risen sharply amid a gas supply shortage and inflationary pressure on energy and consumer prices.

National Grid, which delayed seeking the increase after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, struck a settlement this past fall on its rake hike with the state’s Department of Public Service, which informs the seven-person PSC board. The agreement was also agreed to by business and environmental groups and was initially expected to be approved by the PSC before the holidays.

However, the approval process was eventually pushed out until the end of February to give the process more time.

”We did reach our settlement with DPS last fall. We are currently awaiting the PSC to consider the settlement which we expect they will do at an upcoming monthly session,” National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said Tuesday. “I don’t have any additional comment at this time.”

Consumer groups upstate have opposed the increase, citing the damage that the pandemic has had on the economy — and the current inflationary environment — that has made it difficult for residential customers to afford their monthly utility bills.

However, National Grid has also included subsidies for low income customers to help them cover their bills.

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