Greenhouse Reduction Goal Shouldn’t Drive Wrong Decision on Clean Energy Deal

By Cynthia A. Arcate 16 January, 2018
The cold weather over the last few weeks has resulted in a significant amount of electricity being generated by coal and oil in New England. But, on an annual basis, the amount of oil- and coal-generated electricity will still be about 1% or less of all of the generation in the region. It’s important to keep that fact in perspective, especially as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ clean energy solicitation is awarded. The Boston Globe editorial last week implied that it

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

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

Inspector General Issues Advisory on Energy Brokers, Warns of Excessive Costs, Long-term Contracts and Lack of Experience

By Liam Sullivan 4 January, 2017
The Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General (IG) issued the “Advisory for Municipalities and Other Public Awarding Authorities Using Energy Broker Services” on October 20, 2016. The result of a two-year review, it offers guidance and best practices in selecting and managing energy professionals. Although written primarily for cities, towns and housing authorities, the recommendations are applicable to a broad range of nonprofit and public entities. Most critical to the IG was the need for public entities to conduct a
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