On January 17th, 2017 Eversource submitted a proposal to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to update the company's electric rates which would mean a 7% or 10% rate hike for rate payers depending upon where you live. Eversource is required to hold public hearings about this rate hike and did their first one last night at Natick Town Hall. Of course, PS volunteers were there. Amy Paquette, Ray Phillips and Bill Schineller attended to let Eversource know that wherever they show up, we will be there to hold them accountable. All three called Eversource to task for their bad business practices, and their outdated and unnecessary proposed Sudbury to Hudson Transmission line project.
Natick Town Hall was filled with angry and concerned Eversource customers who publicly called out Eversource for being a non-responsive, self-serving and greedy company. Eversource is proposing a 7% rate hike to the average monthly residential bill in Eastern Massachusetts, and about 10% in Western Massachusetts. In addition to PS volunteers, our state Attorney General Maura Healey is looking out for us. AG Healey sent a representative to the meeting with a public statement which shamed Eversource, and reinforced that her office is investigating the rate hike with the intention of never letting it happen. “Eversource should be returning profits to customers as savings, not raising rates.” said Healey through her representative.
A state rep from Dover and Sherborn also attended, and said it is preposterous to think that Eversource is a good company to work with as they ignore conversations with the towns on various issues - double pole transmission lines - for example. (We have many of those right here in Sudbury as well!) A number of older citizens on fixed incomes worried about the rate hike, and one woman mentioned how horrible it is that Eversource continues to use “probable carcinogens" to treat vegetation areas “which can lead to contaminated water supply.”
Conversations also focused around the penalty to customers with solar programs and that we should instead be focused on helping folks minimize their carbon foot print and lower their energy bills. It was clear that Eversource is geared to make money in the short term, for as long as they can on their transmission line business, leaving customers with higher energy bills, installing projects that are not needed, and having customers pay for inevitable cost overruns, all while devastating communities along the way. Eversource executives, not surprisingly, receive high bonuses, the company profits and share-holders get a return on their investment.
We will continue our coverage of these meetings and would love to have more volunteers attend each one. You are also welcome to send these dates and times to friends who may live closer to the meetings so that they might attend. If you'd like more information on how best to address Eversource if you decide to go to one of these meetings, send an email to Bill Schineller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also SIGN A PETITION asking the Mass Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to reject Eversource's rate hike request.
Upcoming meetings are: