In a filing to the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, National Grid’s Rhode Island electric company restated its support for the Access Northeast natural gas pipeline as a means to help stabilize electricity costs for customers and enhance the reliability of the region’s natural gas supply network.
The company asked the PUC to allow it to withdraw an existing request to purchase natural gas capacity on the proposed pipeline, a move that supports exploration of other options to get the project completed. By filing “without prejudice,” the company reserves the right to resubmit a revised filing at a later date.
In its filing, National Grid states, “As of this writing, the company is actively engaged in coordination with other New England electric and gas distribution companies, including those operating in Massachusetts, regarding the next steps for the contracting effort with the Access Northeast Project, and the potential for the Access Northeast Project to serve as a regional solution to ongoing capacity constraints. The coordination is productive and is continuing to progress to a workable solution that could be presented to the PUC for approval consistent with Rhode Island law.”
According to Tim Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island, the Access Northeast Project is critical to addressing New England’s natural gas constraints and will improve reliability and savings for customers by upgrading existing infrastructure.
“Our electric customers have literally been paying the price for major constraints on the network of pipelines that supply natural gas to the region’s power plants,” Horan said. “These constraints have led to significant volatility in the cost of electricity and to our customers paying among the highest prices in the country. “This project is critical to creating a balanced portfolio of energy solutions to get us to a clean energy future while ensuring customers continue to have access to affordable, safe, and reliable energy.”
National Grid would need to withdraw its current filing before proposing to the RIPUC a new means for the Access Northeast Project to move forward. Horan stated that withdrawing the filing now will help expedite a new filing when the time comes.