WMECO's high rates hurt county
Letter to the Editor
Tuesday August 31, 2010
Regarding the August 18 article "Coakley critical of rise in rates," the Department of Public Utilities and the attorney general should investigate how nearby municipal electric utilities manage to charge so much less than WMECO.
Between April 2009 and March 2010, WMECO charged residents $82.57 per month for 500 kWh of electricity. The same electricity cost $59.40 in Holyoke, $62.87 in Westfield and $69.37 in Chicopee from local municipal utilities (www.grotonelectric.org/pdf/500%20kWh.pdf).
While low electric rates helped Holyoke attract a new supercomputer center, WMECO's high rates hamper the economic prosperity of the Berkshires.
We don't need rate increases from WMECO. Instead, the Legislature should allow new municipal utilities to create competition for WMECO, NStar, National Grid and Unitil, and put downward pressure on their rates. But these large utilities lobby effectively and have so far managed to block this legislation (www.massmunichoice.org).
The writer is from the Massachusetts Alliance for Municipal Electric Choice.