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星期五, 7月 21, 2017

牛頓市長Setti率眾反對Eversource漲電價

Local Communities and Environmental Groups Join Call to Protest Proposed Eversource Rate Change, Fight for Continued Investment in Solar

Newton – Newton Mayor Setti Warren led a conference call Wednesday with local communities and environmental groups opposing the reduction in rates paid to cities and towns for municipal solar projects being proposed in the Eversource rate case currently under review by The Department of Utilities (DPU). The Eversource proposal would reduce this compensation by about 40%. 

Participants were: Newton Mayor Setti Warren; State Senator Cynthia Creem; Natick Sustainability Coordinator Jillian Wilson Martin; Chair of Sustainable Lexington Mark Sandeen; staff attorney at the Acadia Center, Mark LeBel; and outgoing Chair of the Environmental League of Massachusetts George Bachrach. 

“This group of municipalities, elected officials, and environmental non-profits has come together to say that these proposed changes would be detrimental to our communities and the Commonwealth,” said Mayor Warren. “Our cities and towns use the savings from these solar installations to invest in much needed projects that benefit our communities. In addition to the direct benefit to our residents, we are proud to invest in solar energy because it’s vital to putting us on a path towards a more sustainable future. This rate change would threaten both of those outcomes.”

“Last year, after very tough negotiations, the Legislature specifically voted to keep the net metering rate for cities and towns at 22 cents per kilowatt hour,” said Senator Creem.  “We have been working since 2008 to accomplish a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. This Eversource request is an end-run to circumvent the State Legislature and a roll-back of the environmental commitments we have made.”

Arlington, Lexington, Natick, Newton, Wayland, Weston, and Westwood have signed a comment letter to the DPU stating that these communities stand to lose a combined $32 million over the next 20 years if the proposed rate change goes into effect. Additionally, Arlington, Lexington, Natick, Newton, and Weston have become interveners in the case, allowing them to present testimony, cross-examine Eversource’s witnesses, and submit briefs.

"A 40 percent reduction in the value of municipal solar projects hurts everyone," said Jillian Wilson Martin, Natick's Sustainability Coordinator. "It harms the viability of existing and future solar projects, places an extreme burden on local taxpayers, and reduces the likelihood of Massachusetts achieving the requirements set in the Global Warming Solutions Act."

“The Eversource proposal that impacts these municipal solar projects is part of broader rate proposals to reduce customer control over bills and lower incentives for local clean energy,” said Mark LeBel. “Eversource’s proposals would set back efforts to promote energy efficiency, electric vehicles, storage, and efficient electric heating too. The DPU should be looking for economically sensible ways to advance innovative clean energy efforts and should not roll back the progress the Commonwealth has made to date.”

When the cities and towns entered into the contracts for these projects, they relied on some amount of “rate continuity,” which is a core DPU rate-setting principle. This kind of rate instability will make it less likely that cities and towns will invest in solar projects in the future, seriously undermining the Commonwealth’s efforts to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

"There is an unholy alliance between our for-profit utilities and the state's DPU charged with regulating them,” said George Bachrach. “Together they pay lip-service to solar energy while quietly creating economic impediments for expanding renewable energy. This rate case is merely one example. "

The rate case is expected to be ruled upon in late November or early December.