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      National Grid explains why winter electric bills are so high

      D onna White recently received her electric bill from National Grid and could not believe it cost her $405.00 for the electricity she used during the month of February. She lives in a modest mobile home in Sandy Creek in Oswego County. "I only get so much in my disability check and when it takes my whole check to pay National Grid, then I can't buy food for me and my husband."

      R esidential electric bills in central New York are 30 to 50 percent higher this winter. National Grid's Melanie Littlejohn explains it's the impact of an unusually cold winter on supply and demand. "The impact on customers bills is because of frigid cold temperatures and increase supply usage." Littlejohn says.

      L ittlejohn says the extreme cold temperatures cause homeowners to use more energy to stay warm. Because natural gas is diverted for residential use, the power companies which supply National Grid are forced to generate electricity with more expensive fuels such as oil and coal. National Grid passes along the higher priced electricity to you. "Whatever we purchase it at, that's what we pass along. No markup, contrary to popular believe. Whatever we buy it we pass that along directly to the customer." {>}

      Li ttlejohn says National Grid understands this winter's higher electric bills are causing hardship on many people. she suggest that customers call 1-800-NIAGARA to work out a plan to ease the pain.