» Class action lawsuit acuses utilities Eversource, Avangrid of bilking customers out of $3.6 billion
By Dana Drugmand, Berkshire Edge
November 24, 2017
»» Information on class action suit referenced in this article
» How Local Utilities Gamed the Natural-Gas Market: They booked large orders and then canceled at the last minute, which pushed electric prices up by 20%.
By Fred Krupp, Wall Street Journal
November 16, 2017
» Eversource, Avangrid artificially constrained gas pipeline capacity for years, report argues
by Gavin Bade, Utility Dive
Oct. 11, 2017
» In shift, Eversource backs W. Mass. rate relief: Utility calls last-minute changes in $96m proposal response to public feedback
by Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine
May 31, 2017
—— PREVIOUS INFO ON RATE HIKE HEARINGS:
New Hearings for Eversource Rate Hike
It’s back! Eversource has revised a rate case proposal, so there are additional public hearings. The proposal is still bad, but in general the revision makes it slightly less bad for Western MA and a bit worse for Eastern MA (you can read a summarized list of changes here – note that, among other things, you will see charges for low-income customers increase in some regions and decrease in others). To be clear, the fact they are trying a Plan B is the result of overall discontent and people speaking up from various sectors and regions.
Here are some talking points prepared by Joel at Clean Water Action:
I am an Eversource Customer/Massachusetts resident and I oppose the rate design proposal in both its original and its revised form.
I stand united with ratepayers across the Commonwealth in opposition to Eversource’s proposal. We should not allow Eversource to play Eastern and Western Massachusetts against one another. The rate hike is unnecessary. Instead, the DPU should order a reduction in Eversource’s return on equity to 5%.
I do not support Eversource’s proposal to more than double the fixed customer charge for residential ratepayers. A higher fixed customer charge devalues energy efficiency because it decreases a customers’ ability to lower their electric bill by using less kilowatt hours. This increased customer charge means customers will pay Eversource an additional $50 per year in fixed charges, even if they reduce or maintain their normal electricity usage.
I strongly oppose fees on solar energy and reducing compensation for solar projects by changing their rate class. Specifically, I do not support the proposed rate design elements that inhibit customers from reducing their carbon footprint and taking action locally to address climate change by:
a. Penalizing customers who install solar/PV, or other renewables starting in January 2018 by imposing new demand charges;
b. Requiring customers with new solar PV to pay even higher fixed customer charges than other residential customers
c. Lowering the Net Metering Credit value for all customers who sell excess energy to Eversource by decreasing per-kilowatt-hour rates
TUESDAY — AUGUST 1, 2017
Boland Theatre (Koussevitzky Building)
Berkshire Community College
1350 West St.
WEDNESDAY — AUGUST 2, 2017
Cape Cod Community College
Tilden Arts Center Main Theater
2240 Iyannough Road
West Barnstable, MA
FILING WRITTEN COMMENTS
File written comments by the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on August 31, 2017.
Written comments and petitions for leave to intervene or to participate should be addressed to: Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02110. Receipt by the Department, not mailing, constitutes filing.
Further, in addition to paper filings with the Department, all documents also must be submitted to the Department in electronic format using one of the following methods: (1) by e-mail attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org and the Hearing Officer, Marc.Tassone@state.ma.us; or (2) on a CD-ROM. The text of the e-mail or CD-ROM must specify: (1) the docket number of the proceeding (D.P.U. 17-05); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; and (3) a brief descriptive title of the document. The electronic filing should also include the name, title, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of questions about the filing.
ORIGINAL PROPOSAL COMMENT PERIOD ENDED
– REVIEW OF ISSUES –
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to write to the Mass Dept Public Utilities (deadline May 31) to let them know how you feel about the recent rate case filing by Eversource. Even if you are a National Grid Customer, the 2 corps play off each other in alternating years.
Below are the details for submitting comments by email:
You don’t have to be an expert on the subject (but if you are, go for it!), here are a few issues you might mention in your comments:
• Why should Eversource be guaranteed 10.5% profit? What other businesses get this? yay for the shareholders; but Is this fair to rate payers?
• in the contract, Eversource West (MA) customers will pay 7% more than Eversource East (MA) on basic service charges;
• MMRC -Minimum Monthly Rate Charge – a new charge ostensibly aimed at solar owners who sometimes have a “zero” bill; but which could easily become a catch all charge. Even if e.g. you’re a maple sugar-er only using electricity during certain months, you could ultimately have a minimum charge each month. This needs to be tightly controlled.
• They are asking for huge sums for grid modernization, but much of this is for “enhanced vegetation management.” Think herbicides and consultants and tree trimming contracts. That’s not the grid modernization we’re hoping for. We want smart meters and grid upgrades that allow distributed energy sources to come online. (a number of towns have been unable to build solar arrays b/c of the cost of the grid upgrades required to connect)
Persons interested in commenting on the Companies’ filing may file written comments by the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on May 31, 2017 to Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02110. Receipt by the Department, not mailing, constitutes filing.
In addition to the above filing requirement, one (1) copy of all materials filed with the Department should be sent to each of the following: (1) Marc J. Tassone, Hearing Officer, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110; (2) Cheryl M. Kimball, Keegan Werlin LLP, 265 Franklin Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110 (counsel for the Companies); and (3) Joseph W. Rogers, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Ratepayer Advocacy, One Ashburton Place, Boston, Massachusetts 02108.
Further, in addition to paper filings with the Department, all documents also must be submitted to the Department in electronic form at using one of the following methods: (1) by e-mail attachment to email@example.com and the Hearing Officer, Marc.Tassone@state.ma.us; or (2) on a CD-ROM. The text of the e-mail or CD-ROM must specify: (1) the docket number of the proceeding (D.P.U. 17-05); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; and (3) a brief descriptive title of the document. The electronic filing should also include the name, title, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of questions about the filing. All documents submitted in electronic format will be posted on the Department’s website.
( Short link for this page: bit.ly/EversourceHike )