Mar. 26, 2012
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate plans to take up an omnibus bill later this week aimed at controlling electricity costs.
It targets the rising cost of electricity in a number of ways. First, it gives the Department of Public Utilities the authority to conduct more frequent reviews of proposed electricity rate hikes.
Attorney General Martha Coakley said this measure would help prevent rate spiking: “This bill will allow for better review, better transparency, better accountability both from what our office will do and what the Department of Public Utilities will do, and it will start to address bills and language that are pretty much a mystery to most people who get them.”
Another provision in the bill would require utility companies to purchase renewable energy through a competitive bidding process. Current law does not require utilities to solicit bids. The state's two largest utilities, National Grid and NStar, recently purchased power from Cape Wind without going through a competitive bidding process and ended up with contracts critics have said are overpriced.
Coakley said the proposed measure would eliminate sweetheart deals, like the pacts with Cape Wind. "What this change in the legislation does is essentially make this much more competitive," she said.
The Senate plans to debate the bill on Mar. 29. If it passes, it will move on to the House.