Trickle-Down Benefits of Tax Plan Start with Reducing Energy Prices for Consumers

By Cynthia A. Arcate 22 December, 2017
While there is much debate about whether the GOP tax plan will, in fact, provide economic benefits for employees and consumers in America, one clear benefit should be captured immediately: the reduction in utility rates from the reduction in the corporate income tax rate. Utilities pay taxes like any other corporation, and they will see the reduction immediately. Yet their rates are based on costs that include the higher income tax rate. The corporate rate reduction from 35 percent to

It’s Time for the Department of Public Utilities to Start Taking C&I Customers Seriously

By Cynthia A. Arcate 7 November, 2017
Over the years, the four major groups representing commercial and industrial (C&I) customers in proceedings before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU)—Associated Industries of Massachusetts, The Energy Consortium, The Western Massachusetts Industrial Group and PowerOptions—have actively participated in numerous dockets, presenting a unique C&I customer-oriented perspective, only to have their positions dismissed with little explanation. These organizations collectively represent a majority of all C&I customers in the Commonwealth. They have energy expertise themselves, and they retain outside counsel and

Time to Hit the Reset Button on Utility Distribution Company Ratemaking

By Cynthia A. Arcate 24 April, 2017
For years, many have been lamenting the ever-increasing number of rate mechanisms which fall outside of the base rate review process for utility distribution companies. There are roughly a dozen reconciliation charges, trackers and automatic adjustment charges on the bill for each gas and electric utility. Call them what you will, they all do the same thing: allow utilities to recover 100 percent of certain costs of providing service separate from their total cost of service. This is a problem

Eversource $20 Million Energy Efficiency Filing: Too Much for Too Little

By Cynthia A. Arcate 1 March, 2017
Last fall, in the midst of the multitude of year-end utility filings, Eversource filed a request with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for a $20 million surcharge, on top of its energy efficiency charge, to fund its dabbling in demand reduction demonstration projects. I say “dabbling” because the filing is little more than a hodgepodge of exploratory ideas to be implemented over less than 18 months to gather information to inform its next three-year energy efficiency plan. The filing