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State Holding Hearing On Eversource Rate Increase In Pittsfield
Staff Reports,
04:45PM / Saturday, March 11, 2017
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Eversource is seeking to raise rates by 28 percent.
 
The company submitted a proposal to the Department of Public Utilities for such an increase and a local public hearing on the manner is scheduled for April 10 at the Berkshire Athenaeum.
 
The company is seeking to increase revenues by $35.7 million with the increase. Another $60.2 million is sought with increases to NStar customers in eastern Massachusetts, which is achieved through a 7 percent rate increase.
 
"Eversource's request addresses increases in operating and maintenance costs and capital costs associated with investments in the electric network since the last decision by the DPU approving a general distribution rate increase in 2011," Eversource wrote in an email announcing the hearing.
 
The state will weigh the proposal and then issue a decision by Nov. 30. The new rates would go into effect on January 1, 2018. It is estimated the average monthly bill in Western Massachusetts would go up by $11.64.
 
In the application, which includes NStar and Western Massachusetts Electric Co., the company says the increases will help with the undertaking of $400 million in capital investments over the next five year. Those investments, the company writes, are to improve reliability and develop electric vehicle infrastructure and electric storage capabilities.
 
The Department of Public Utilities has the ultimate say over the rate increase but Attorney General Maura Healey has opposed it. She has filed to be an intervener in the hearings. 
 
In January she wrote, "as a regulated public utility, Eversource is required to justify why the state should permit it to raise electric rates on residents and business customers ... Our initial evaluation shows that Eversource should be returning profits to customers as savings, not raising rates. We urge the DPU to reject Eversource's request for a rate hike."
 
The DPU will be holding one hearing on the rate increases at 7 p.m. on April 10. Written comments on it may be submitted to the DPU by May 31.
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