Increased natural gas pipeline Capacity would bring rates down for Rhode Island families after recent electricity rate hikes.

Center: Progressive Policies Root Cause of Electricity Rate Hikes on RI Families

STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2017

As forewarned, Progressive Energy Agenda Hurting RI Families in their Pocketbooks

Increased Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity Would Bring Rates Down

Providence, RI – Already ranking a dismal 45th in overall family prosperity, Rhode Islanders will soon suffer from a 16-21% increase on their electricity bills, making matters even worse. The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity attributes these artificially high rates to state energy policies that serve to limit the supply of low-cost natural gas in the region and that mandate National Grid to purchase high-cost electricity from unreliable renewable energy producers.

In 2016, the Center forewarned of almost this exact level price increase (13-18%) in its report on the cost of renewable energy mandates.

This price increase is largely due to basic supply and demand forces. The supply of natural gas, which is used to produce low-cost and low-emission electricity, is severely limited due to inadequate natural-gas pipeline capacity into our ISO New England region. Renewable energy mandates and increased fees due to Rhode Island’s membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) exacerbate the problem.

“Today, every Rhode Island family and business more clearly understands the real cost of electing progressive Democrats into the General Assembly and of mainstream Democrats capitulating to their agenda,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The way to spur private sector investment in expanded pipeline capacity is to provide market certainty by eliminating disincentives to produce and sell natural gas electricity.”

The Center laments that while much of the country is enjoying the benefits of abundant low-cost, low-emission natural gas electricity, Rhode Islanders, conversely, are suffering from policies that lead to lower available supplies of natural gas.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

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The price increases are not attributable to profit motives by National Grid. Rather, as advocated by progressives such as US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and State Representative Aaron Regunberg, the federal and state assault on low-cost fossil fuel energy, combined with mandates to sell high-cost green energy, have artificially distorted the free-market, leading to dramatic price increases … with no discernible and offsetting environmental benefit.

Increased production of low-cost and low-emission energy derived from natural gas offers consumers and politicians an acceptable compromise solution. However, without increased pipeline capacity, such increased production is not possible, even if the proposed Burrillville natural gas energy plant were to come online.

The Center suggests that the path to lower electric prices is clear. First, repeal the mandates and subsidies for high-cost renewable energy. Second, clear away the regulations that create market uncertainty, creating a renewed incentive for the private sector to invest in increased natural gas pipeline capacity.

Just last week, the Center also issued a report on progressive bills, two of which would heap an additional $48 million annual burden on Ocean State ratepayers.


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

Improvements in the Ocean State’s employment picture were undone by loss of income on the Jobs & Opportunity Index, June 2017.

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), June 2017: Employment Estimates and Income Diverge

Having skipped a month, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity registered a larger amount of movement in its Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), but improvements in the Ocean State’s employment picture were undone by loss of income. Additionally, the state’s reduction in SNAP enrollees — which may be indicative of distribution problems, rather than a decrease in residents’ need for the service — was not enough to overcome a Medicaid increase and broader trends.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

show less


Nine of the 12 datapoints (now counting state and local taxes as one) used for the index are newly updated. Employment was up 1,727 from the previously recorded number (for April), while labor force rose 1,054. (This is a continuation of an annual surge in these numbers typically revised away.) RI-based jobs increased by 2,000, and SNAP enrollment continued a decreasing trend, this time dropping 9,539 since the last JOI report. Medicaid enrollment, however, increased by 1,307. Turning to money, personal income (including earnings as well as various forms of investment) dropped $378 million on an annualized basis, while federal taxes increased $234 million. A $48 million drop in state and local taxes barely dented this $612 million gap income-to-tax gap.

The first chart shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 48th in the country, while New Hampshire remained 1st. Elsewhere in New England, Vermont edged ahead of Maine, although both fell in national rank, to 21st and 22nd, respectively. Meanwhile, Massachusetts opened up its gap ahead of Connecticut, reaching 31st to the Nutmeg State’s 36th.

The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the U.S. on JOI. RI gained some on the U.S. average but lost ground in New England. Switching to the official unemployment rate, those results flip, although movement relative to the U.S. was minimal.

Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:

  • Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI jumped three, to 29th.
  • Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI took one step, to 41st.
  • Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI fell one, to 47th.

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!