New Munis Must Provide Choice

By Cynthia A. Arcate 9 February, 2012
Every few years, the idea of taking electric distribution service public through municipalization of the low voltage poles and wires gets some traction and stirs debate about who can provide better service at lower rates – the investor-owned electric company or a publicly owned municipal light plant (MLPs). There are several dozen MLPs, or as they are commonly known, “munis” in Massachusetts – all created many decades ago. As a group, they have a long history of providing good service

Natural Gas Boom – Too Much of a Good Thing?

By Cynthia A. Arcate 28 January, 2012
So just when we were finally getting comfortable with the joys of lower natural gas prices, a recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) report bursts our bubble. Recent reports have touted the fact that the U.S. is rapidly becoming an exporter of both gas and oil. The glut of natural gas has caused proposed liquefied natural gas terminals to be converted from intake capability to export capability – essentially liquefying instead of solidifying the gas. All of this not only because

Time to Assess Ambitious Energy Efficiency Plans

By Cynthia A. Arcate 5 January, 2012
Massachusetts has a long, successful history of energy efficiency programs and there are many reasons to ensure that continues. But the state cannot make the kind of financial investments that it has made (currently more than $1 billion over three years) and not closely examine the costs and impacts on customers. The costs are significant and the savings do not directly offset the cost, as suggested by the numbers touted by the Department of Energy Resources and the Department of