December 5 2017

State Allows Eversource Rate Hike but Most Burlington Customers Won't See It

By: Rich Hosford

Eversource has been given the green light from the state to increase its rates starting on January 1st but fortunately most Burlington residents won’t be impacted.

As reported by multiple outlets, the Department of Public Utilities last week approved nearly $37 million per-year rate hike for Eversource’s Massachusetts customers. This will break down in $12.2 million for what eastern Massachusetts customers will pay and $24.7 in what western Massachusetts customers will pay.

Though significant the hike is much smaller than the $91 million the utility company had requested.

Still, the move did have its critics. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey tried to block the rate hike and when that failed came out against the decision. She said in a release the decision allowed additional annual rate increases of over 3.5 percent per year over the following four years for a total increase of over $220 million over a five-year period

“At a time when businesses and residents are already struggling with high energy costs, the DPU’s order chooses unjustified corporate profits over Eversource’s 1.4 million customers,” Healey said. “The Department has allowed Eversource to raise rates by hundreds of millions of dollars, instead of imposing the decrease that customers deserve. Disappointingly, the increase includes a 10 percent shareholder return, one of the highest in the country. As the state’s ratepayer advocate, we will continue to fight on behalf of electric customers across Massachusetts.”

Fortunately, most Burlington residents do not get their electricity from Eversource. Due to a program the town entered into in late 2015 and renewed as necessary it is part of an aggregation power supply arrangement with Colonial Power. That means the town has a fixed rate until the agreement expires in June of 2018.

Town Administrator John Petrin said this arrangement protects those enrolled in the program against rate hikes. When it went into effect all residents were automatically enrolled. Any that decided to opt out can now opt back in.

“We’ve been saving people a little bit of money over Eversource since implementing the program,” he said.

Petrin said that when the arrangement expires in June the town will go back out and look for the best rate.

“We’ll rebid our rate for the electrical source,” he said. “We’ll see what our rates are at that time and see if we can find something cheaper than Eversource.”


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