Friday, December 9 2022 Sign In   |    Register
 

News Quick Search


 

News


Front Page
Power News
Today's News
Yesterday's News
Week of Dec 05
Week of Nov 28
Week of Nov 21
Week of Nov 14
Week of Nov 07
By Topic
By News Partner
Gas News
News Customization
Feedback

 

Pro Plus(+)


Add on products to your professional subscription.
  • Energy Archive News
  •  



    Home > News > Power News > News Article

    Share by Email E-mail Printer Friendly Print

    With 64% increase in electric bills expected this winter, here’s what Mass. is doing to explore relief


    September 23, 2022 - Alison Kuznitz, masslive.com

     

      As Bay Staters prepare for steep rate hikes in their electric bills this winter, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said relief may be on the way.

      Healey’s office convened utility companies, as well as state administrators and regulators, on Wednesday, the same day National Grid announced skyrocketing natural gas prices — linked to the war in Ukraine — will trigger a 64% increase in monthly residential bills starting this November.

      Customers can expect a $293 monthly bill for the 2022-2023 winter season, compared to $179 last year, National Grid said in a news release.

      “This is devastating — devastating for residents, devastating for many of our small businesses,” Healey, the Democratic nominee for governor, told reporters Thursday afternoon in Boston after she toured the Verizon Innovation Center.

      In an interim solution, Healey urged Bay Staters to contact their utility companies about creating payment plans.

      Speaking in her AG capacity, Healey signaled the commonwealth could also follow the example set by New Hampshire, where lawmakers expanded eligibility for a fuel assistance program through a mixture of federal and state funds. Massachusetts officials should consider that approach, Healey said.

      The dramatic price jump underscores Massachusetts must transition away from natural gas, Healey said.

      “Another thing that my office is encouraging is a look at how we actually procure and purchase energy,” Healey said. “I think we could, as a state, change the way some of that is procured or purchased that would help smooth out some of the volatility and sticker-shock that we’ve seen.”

      But she ridiculed her Republican rival for governor, Geoff Diehl, for attributing the price increase to officials’ disproportionate focus on renewable energy sources while ruling out existing options.

      “He’s absolutely wrong,” Healey told reporters, as she instead framed the war in Ukraine, particularly its impact on global markets, as an impetus for Massachusetts to expand its portfolio of energy sources.

      “That is absolutely essential so that we have access to solar, wind, storage, hydro and other energy sources,” Healey said. “What we need to do is be less dependent on fossil fuels. But in the meantime, we’re going to do everything we can — we must — to try to soften the blow for residents and businesses here.”

      Diehl, in a news release issued later Thursday, demanded the Massachusetts Legislature scrutinize taxes and fees tied to customer utility bills — and potentially, reduce or suspend them.

      Massachusetts must do “all it can” to slash prices for families, Diehl said.

      “In the context of soaring energy bills that will leave many Massachusetts residents struggling to heat their homes this winter, I think it is important for the Legislature to take a fresh look at any tariffs and fees imposed on customer bills and to find out if some of these programs could be paused or reworked to save rate payers money,” Diehl said in a statement. “Not all tariffs are imposed at the state level, and even if all were to be removed it wouldn’t solve all utility cost issues.”

      Secretary of State Bill Galvin separately on Thursday called for the Legislature to create a $50 million home heating oil reserve for middle- and low-income residents.

      That funding, which Galvin said should be overseen by state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, would allow Massachusetts to buy its home heating oil supply, make “guarantees” to fuel wholesalers, and provide financial assistance to struggling Bay Staters.

      “With the transition in the governor’s office coming during the coldest month of the year, we need to be planning for this potential crisis now,” Galvin said in a statement. “If prices remain high, this could be catastrophic for the working poor and middle class families who are already struggling to keep up with all of the other issues caused by inflation. Purchasing oil right now is a risk that many private companies aren’t willing to take, but it’s a risk the state needs to take to ensure our residents can survive the winter.”

      ©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit masslive.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

    TOP

    Other Articles - International


    TOP

       Home  -  Feedback  -  Contact Us  -  Safe Sender  -  About Energy Central   
    Copyright © 1996-2022 by CyberTech, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Energy Central® and Energy Central Professional® are registered trademarks of CyberTech, Incorporated. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for trading purposes. CyberTech does not warrant that the information or services of Energy Central will meet any specific requirements; nor will it be error free or uninterrupted; nor shall CyberTech be liable for any indirect, incidental or consequential damages (including lost data, information or profits) sustained or incurred in connection with the use of, operation of, or inability to use Energy Central. Other terms of use may apply. Membership information is confidential and subject to our privacy agreement.