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Mass. lawmakers want utility rate hikes reviewed, rolled back

BOSTON — Some Massachusetts lawmakers are calling on the Department of Public Utilities [DPU] to reexamine the rate hikes they recently approved for energy providers and ask them to roll them back.

Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanagh spoke with State Representative John Barrett who said the bills this winter are really hurting Bay State residents and small businesses.

“It’s not a case of not understanding that oil prices and gas prices have gone up. It’s trying to understand whether DPU really did their homework,” said Barret (D, North Adams).

Last fall the DPU approved a 64% increase for National Grid and a 43% increase for Eversource. The companies said the increases were as result of record global demand, the war in Ukraine and inflation.

But, Barrett says now demand has fallen as has the cost of oil. He and other lawmakers sent this letter to the DPU on January 9th expressing serious concern about residents now struggling to afford their bills.

They asked the department to “reassess the recently granted rate increases” adding “utility companies have been able to generate extreme profit for themselves at the expense of Massachusetts residents.”

Boston 25 News reached out to Eversource and National Grid.

Eversource says they presented the best rate to the state based on the rates they got from the companies that generate power - and they are willing to help customers one-on-one lower their energy use.

We have not yet heard back from National Grid.

“We have seen a precipitous drop in oil prices which we basically said in the letter that we are asking you to revisit. Take a better look at it,” Barrett said.

“Do you think that can be examined or are you dead in the water,” asked Kavanaugh?

“All we said in the letter, was to revisit the issue bring in these companies that have jacked their rates as much as they have and let’s have a little discussion with them and that should be the DPU’s job,” said Barrett.

Barret said he realizes the DPU cannot make the utilities roll back the rates at this point. But he says the utilities could opt to do so on their own.

“There’s no going back unless the companies agree to it.”

So far, Barret says the DPU has not responded to that letter now two weeks later.

Boston 25 News reached out to DPU Chairman, Matthew Nelson and received his response letter regarding winter rates in return.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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