National Grid utility bills have hit some households hard this summer, forcing some people to consider whether to pay for food or keep the lights on. Sheila Giannoulis of Salina did a double-take when she opened her last bill. "Total electric supply, $40.05. Total gas supply, $9.66. Total delivery, $103.21. How do they do this stuff?," Giannoulis asked.
It was the same situation for Riann Taylor in Eastwood. "My electricity and gas, I used $120 this month, my bill is $401," Taylor said.
Another neighbor showed us a bill for nearly $600. However, the amount of gas and electricity he used only amounted to $198.
These big differences come from Delivery Charges that are double, sometimes even triple the cost of how much energy is actually being used. "Our bills are more than we can bring in," Taylor said. "Especially the Ni-Mo. We pay almost triple what we use."
Action News took the question to National Grid. They told us because of the mild summer, energy use is down. This low use period combined with decreased costs in the price of electricity and natural gas have resulted in many customers seeing a decreased supply charge on their bill, while their delivery charges are slightly higher.
What exactly are these Delivery Costs? National Grid tells us they cover more than just physically delivering the power. They actually go towards things like building and maintenance of the pipes and wires, emergency and storm response and call center services.
With winter just a few months away, customers already struggling to pay are worried they might be left out in the cold. "I'll be out on the streets with my family," Taylor said, fighting back tears.
"It's a sin," Giannoulis said. "When it gets to the point where you can't pay your taxes or you can't pay to eat, it's sad. It's gonna keep happening."