Special to the Transcript
Last week, a bipartisan group of 31 Massachusetts State Senators and 76 State Representatives sent a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) expressing concern about the energy rate increases slated to impact residents this winter. The letter to DPU Chair Matthew Nelson, written by Senator Michael Moore and Representative Orlando Ramos, urges DPU to protect residents of the Commonwealth from these rate increases.
“The proposed 54.6% increase for electric customers and 28.6% increase for natural gas customers are outrageous. The working families of the Winthrop and Revere, already battered by the pandemic and inflation, need relief not further price gouging by so-called ‘public utilities.’ The Department of Public Utilities must intervene to stop these proposed increases while giving the Massachusetts Legislature an opportunity to direct the unprecedented budget surplus funds to relief for the working class,” said State Representative Jeffrey Rosario Turco (D. Winthrop).
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources predicts that the coming winter will be colder than last year’s, while the cost of heating may increase by up to 54.6% for electric customers and 28.6% for natural gas. Utility providers largely blame global factors such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, and inflation. Legislators believe the DPU can do more to tamp down these rate increases and their effects on consumers.
In their letter to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, signatories state, “…proposed rate increases of this magnitude – during the winter season – would disproportionally impact the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable. Moreover, protecting our residents from the cold is not just an affordability and equity concern – it is also a public safety issue. As the oversight agency tasked with prioritizing safety, affordability, and equity with regard to energy rates, we ask that DPU do just that and protect Massachusetts residents from these drastic rate increases this winter season.”
The letter was signed by Senators Michael O. Moore, John C. Velis, Diana DiZoglio, Joanne M. Comerford, Ryan Fattman, Patrick O’Connor, Jason M. Lewis, Adam Gomez, Anne M. Gobi, Edward J. Kennedy, Barry R. Finegold, Susan L. Moran, Walter F. Timilty, Sonia Chang-Díaz, James B. Eldridge, Eric P. Lesser, John F. Keenan, Lydia Edwards, Michael D. Brady, John J. Cronin, Patricia D. Jehlen, Marc R. Pacheco, Joan B. Lovely, Becca Rausch, Julian Cyr, Mark C. Montigny, Paul R. Feeney, Bruce E. Tarr, Harriette L. Chandler, Sal N. DiDomenico, and Brendan P. Crighton. It was also signed by Representatives Orlando Ramos, Andy X. Vargas, Michael J. Soter, John Barrett, Timothy R. Whelan, Brian W. Murray, Paul J. Donato, William M. Straus, Steven Ultrino, Susannah Whipps, Jamie Zahlaway Belsito, Christine P. Barber, Michelle Ciccolo, Todd M. Smola, Natalie M. Blais, Michael P. Kushmerek, Danillo A. Sena, Patrick Kearney, Paul Mark, David Allen Robertson, Mindy Domb, Carole Fiola, Josh S. Cutler, Smitty Pignatelli, Peter Capano, Hannah Kane, Carol A. Doherty, Patricia A. Haddad, Joseph McGonagle, Steven G. Xiarhos, Mathew Muratore, Carlos González, Shawn Dooley, Mike Connolly, Kimberly N. Ferguson, Lindsay N. Sabadosa, Tram T. Nguyen, Jacob R. Oliveira, Kay Khan, Brandy Fluker Oakley, Jonathan Zlotnik, James J. O’Day, Gerard J. Cassidy, Steven C. Owens, David K. Muradian, Jr., Natalie Higgins, Bradley H. Jones, Jr., Susan Williams Gifford, Jay D. Livingstone, Thomas M. Stanley, Paul K. Frost, Frank A. Moran, Meghan K. Kilcoyne, Mary S. Keefe, Jay Barrows, David LeBoeuf, Alan Silvia, Joseph McKenna, Ken Gordon, Christopher M. Markey, Linda Dean Campbell, Liz Miranda, Kevin G. Honan, Danielle W. Gregoire, Marc Lombardo, Ruth B. Balser, Kip A. Diggs, Jeffrey R. Turco, Carmine L. Gentile, Elizabeth A. Malia, Steven S. Howitt, John J. Mahoney, Tami L. Gouveia, Daniel M. Donahue, Colleen M. Garry, and Joseph F. Wagner.