AG Neronha securs over $200 million in value for RI ratepayers and Act on Climate mandates in PPL-Narragansett Electric sale

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that in exchange for an agreement that secures $200 million in value for Rhode Island ratepayers along with mandated steps toward meeting Act on Climate goals, the Office has withdrawn its objection to the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers’ (DPUC) approval of the sale of Narragansett Electric by National Grid to PPL Corporation. The agreement provides benefits and protections for Rhode Islanders far exceeding the conditions imposed by the DPUC in its February 2022 decision approving the sale.

The agreement provides for $50 million in ratepayer credits, and $43.5 million in discharge of bill amounts for low-income and protected residential customers, the cost of which would likely also be borne by ratepayers. In addition to this direct ratepayer relief, the Attorney General has required that PPL forgo recovery of $103 million from ratepayers: $82 million in costs for new investments it will make as a result of the sale and $21 million of costs already incurred by National Grid.  The DPUC’s decision would have allowed PPL to seek this $103 million from ratepayers.

The Attorney General has also required PPL, as the new owner of the state’s largest gas and electric utility, to take substantial steps in addition to those previously ordered to advance Rhode Island’s Act on Climate goals. In the proceedings before it and ultimately in its decision, the DPUC consistently refused to apply the Act on Climate to its review of the PPL/Narragansett Electric transaction. Under its agreement with the Attorney General, PPL is required to contribute $2.5 million to the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund and up to $2.5 million to the Attorney General for retention of outside experts in anticipated Rhode Island energy proceedings that will directly impact Act on Climate Goals. Furthermore, in all future filings with RI utility regulators, PPL must include a written assessment of potential impacts on the Act on Climate’s requirements. In addition, PPL must hire a third-party consultant and establish a stakeholder process to create an Act on Climate report. This report is necessary to provide Rhode Islanders with specific and important information about next steps for climate efforts throughout the state, including energy efficiency program analysis and capacity for solar interconnection and distributed energy. The agreement also requires PPL to solidify other important investments in the infrastructure needed to meet climate goals.

Finally, the DPUC in its decision failed to take steps to ensure that the utility’ storm response not worsen under PPL ownership. Accordingly, in the agreement the Attorney General has required that PPL ensure that Massachusetts-based storm response crews are contractually obligated to help Rhode Island first, before other states, in a storm event.

“This Office appealed the DPUC’s decision to the Superior Court because that decision failed to adequately protect and advance the interests of Rhode Islanders. Up front, it applied the wrong legal standard in reviewing the proposed transaction, requiring a showing far less than what the law requires. In terms of substance, the DPUC would have allowed PPL to impose millions of dollars of transition and other costs on Rhode Islanders, who didn’t seek this transaction and already pay plenty of money for the energy they use. It missed an opportunity to return money to Rhode Islanders by failing to require PPL to provide entirely justifiable rate credits, which this agreement now includes. It failed to ensure adequate storm response given that PPL has its main base of operations significantly farther away than National Grid does. And it completely ignored a generational opportunity to address the state’s climate goals in the perhaps the most important context of all: how our energy is produced and delivered,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Today’s agreement remedies all this. The time to address Rhode Island’s energy delivery system and climate future is now, in this context, not elsewhere and not later. Wherever and whenever necessary, this Office will continue to fight for Rhode Islanders. Because Rhode Islanders deserve no less.”

 In summary, the agreement provides:

Category DPUC Decision Agreement and Final Order
Ratepayer Relief  

No distribution rate increase for three years.



No distribution rate increase for three years.


$50 million combined rate credit for gas and electric customers.


$43.5 million discharge of bad debt for customers in hardship that fell over 90 days behind—ratepayers would have eventually paid for these debts.


Ensures enhanced services and support for low-income ratepayers.


Transition Costs  

Allowed cost recovery of up to $103 million from ratepayers for:

  • IT systems and a local gas facility that would not be built under National Grid ownership.
  • Prior spending on projects no longer useful to PPL.



No cost recovery from ratepayers for IT systems or the local gas facility—avoiding $82 million in costs passed on to ratepayers.


No cost recovery from ratepayers for prior projects, avoiding $21 million in costs passed on to ratepayers.


Advanced Meter Functionality/Grid Mod  

PPL would submit a proposal within 12 months.


PPL’s cost for advanced meter functionality will be capped at National Grid’s prior estimated cost, which included savings from bulk purchases with other states.


Act on Climate  

PPL to submit an undefined proposal for how it might meet Act on Climate goals.



Renewable energy—Maintain timelines and costs for getting new renewable energy projects connected to the grid, and make best efforts to improve the process as soon as practicable.


Guarantee that costs for new smart meters will not exceed National Grid estimates.


$2.5 million for Renewable Energy Fund.


PPL will submit an impact statement for Act on Climate goals with all future utility filings in RI.


Concrete substantive and procedural requirements for an Act on Climate Report that sets forth a plan for meeting the Act’s goals. PPL will be required to:


  • Engage a consultant to author the report
  • Involve stakeholders in the report development process
  • Analyze use of energy efficiency programs
  • Study capacity for solar growth and electric storage


PPL will not oppose a PUC docket being opened to consider the future of gas infrastructure.


Up to $2.5 million for RIAG experts to participate in the Act on Climate Report process and a PUC future of gas docket.


Low-Income Ratepayers  

No conditions.


Continue data- gathering to allow fully-informed consideration of income-based rates in the future.


Maintain enhanced customer service.


PPL will commit 2 full time employees to Narragansett to address low-income ratepayer issues.


Storm Response  

No conditions.


Mutual Aid Agreement with National Grid where MA crews will be available to RI before any other state in the event of a storm event requiring additional support.




Special Assistants Attorney General Nicholas Vaz and Tiffany Parenteau, along with Sarah Rice, Deputy Chief, Public Protection Bureau, litigated this case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.