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Rep Lancia speaks out against National Grid’s 30 percent rate increase



“You know, I’ve got to say, this is really a sad day for Rhode Island,” said Representative Robert Lancia (Republican, District 16, Cranston) outside the National Grid offices of Melrose Avenue in Providence Monday morning. “Our electric rates today are going up 30 percent. A year ago the rates went up 53 percent, last April 1st they went down just 11 percent…

“Coming in January, we need to start talking about this seriously,” continued Lancia.

Lancia has proposed a bill in the General Assembly that would give final approval for electrical rate increases to the General Assembly. “If a rate [increase] goes above 15 percent it would have to go to the General Assembly for approval… Each and every Rep and Senator would have to vote on it. They would have to hold hearings. They would have to justify those increases.”

Though this bill did not pass in 2018, Lancia plans to re-introduce the bill in 2019.

“We’ve got three people sitting at the PUC (Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission), and unfortunately, I’m not happy with their performance. I really am not,” continued Lancia. “They always seem to side with the utilities, not the people… They say they are doing what they have to do but you know what? If they won’t do their job, maybe we don’t need the PUC. Maybe their time has come and gone.”

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Lancia then introduced Independent Providence Mayoral candidate Dee Dee Witman.

“We are pricing out our residents in Providence,” said Witman. “It’s just a disgrace… As Bob said, I don’t think the PUC is doing its job. It was originally set up to protect the people, and not it seems to protect the company.”

“When they have the hearings at the PUC, you know how many Reps and Senators show up?” asked Lancia rhetorically. “At the most three, out of 113 members. Where are they? And you know what? I’ve never seen the Governor or the Attorney General at any of those hearings.”

Dee Dee Witman

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.