SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A day after a major snowstorm hit Massachusetts, state officials announced reductions to winter gas supply rates.

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved additional reductions in gas supply rates for Eversource and National Grid gas customers, meaning you can expect to see a lower monthly bill.

“We’re glad to see continued reductions in natural gas prices, and we will continue to seek out ways to deliver relief to our residents,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “These volatile gas prices underscore the importance of Massachusetts’ transition to clean and affordable energy. The Healey-Driscoll Administration is working urgently to deliver relief and a more stable energy future for our residents.” 

As inflation continues to take its toll on consumers’ wallets, many hope this reduction will ease the ongoing burden. “It’s been miserable, we just keep watching and watching the rates go up,” said Lynne Goldberg of Springfield.

With these approved reductions, customers can expect to see a 10 percent decrease in a typical residential heating bill. The new rates go into effect on March 1 through May.

Springfield City leaders said while they welcome this immediate relief for residents, more needs to be done and they’re working to make some changes for the long term. “We need to be innovative as we look forward,” expressed Jesse Lederman, Springfield City Council, President.

The city of Springfield is in the process of eventually, giving residents more energy options that are less costly. “This is a process that will allow the city of Springfield to go out and negotiate electric rates directly on behalf of customers in the city,” adds Lederman. “And be able to prioritize longer-term contracts, as well as contracts that include more renewable energy options.”

And while this process can take up to a year, Lederman says in the meantime Springfield needs state leaders to make it easier for residents and businesses to transition away from natural gas products and towards more renewable energy sources.

According to Eversource, this reduction in rates happens when the supply cost of natural gas fluctuates by more than 5%, which under law requires an adjustment to not over or under-charge customers.

“The Department continues to monitor energy supply markets to ensure that changes in supply costs are appropriately reflected in winter gas supply rates,” added Department of Public Utilities Acting Chair Cecile Fraser. “We continue to direct the utilities to work with the families and businesses across the Commonwealth to provide relief from high winter energy costs through energy efficiency and assistance programs.”  

Earlier this year, the DPU approved a gas supply rate reduction for National Grid customers in February and Eversource customers in December 2021.

Natural gas is sold in a competitive market in federal law. Massachusetts gas distribution companies are required by law to purchase gas and pass that cost to the customers without profit. Due to recent changes in natural gas prices in the market, National Grid and Eversource were required to make further adjustments to their supply rates.

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, resources are available on the DPU’s website. Customers are also encouraged to contact their utility company for payment plan options.