Town committee proposes resolution opposing Eversource rate increase

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/25/2017 9:56:13 PM

GREENFIELD — The town’s Community Relations and Education Committee has endorsed a proposed resolution opposing Eversource’s revised rate design proposal.

The electric company’s proposal, submitted to the state Department of Public Utilities, would enact a $96 million rate increase in 2018 and an additional $188 million over the following four years, resulting in a roughly 20 percent increase for all ratepayers.

The proposed resolution states that Eversource’s plan would have a negative impact on the future development of solar energy in Greenfield and the state by reducing the value of solar energy net metering credits and also implementing minimum monthly and demand charges.

“Greenfield is opposed to any changes in rate structure that de-incentivizes energy efficiency and local renewable energy,” the proposed resolution states.

In a letter to the town, Edward Davis, Eversource’s director of rates, wrote that the company filed its original request in January because the company is operating with a revenue deficiency, meaning costs that the company are incurring to serve customers are greater than the revenues it is collecting through rates.

“The main reason for this deficiency is money the company has already spent on capital projects, such as upgrades to the local electric grid that are directly benefiting our customers in western Massachusetts,” Davis wrote.

However, Greenfield Energy and Sustainability Director Carole Collins said the rate design proposal includes the highest allowed return on equity to shareholders in New England at 10.5 percent — significantly higher than the national average of 9.3 percent.

“There’s really no argument of why they need this and where it’s going to, outside of their investors,” Collins said. “Every residential customer will realize an increase with this proposal.”

She added that the impacts to commercial and industrial customers are largely undefined under the company’s proposal.

Collins also said that Eversource’s claims that solar customers add to the cost of the utilities supplying the grid has not been proven.

At-Large Councilor Mark Maloni, who chairs the Community Relations and Education Committee, said passing the resolution would send a clear message to state legislators.

“I don’t think that Eversource is hugely concerned with what we have to say, but I think the value of passing this is some clear and easy bean counting on the state Legislature’s part,” At-Large Councilor Mark Maloni said. “To me, that’s where it would make sense to do this.”

The Community Relations and Education Committee voted to send a unanimous positive recommendation on the proposed resolution to the full Town Council, with three out of five committee members present.


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