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NStar rates exceed municipal utilities'
March 26, 2008

Your March 21 story asking why Cape electric rates are so high didn't mention that NStar charges far more than the 41 municipal electric utilities (or "munis") operating in Massachusetts.

In 2007, a household using 500 kilowatt-hours per month paid NStar $95, 53 percent more than what munis charged, $62 (

A small business pays NStar 75 percent more in Lexington than Belmont Electric charges right nearby (

In 2006-07, high schools served by NStar paid for electricity almost double what munis charged (

NStar's delivery rates for commercial accounts are 1 to 8 cents per kilowatt-hour higher than munis'. Overall, NStar customers annually spend about $700 million more than if NStar's rates matched munis'.

NStar's latest proxy indicates the compensation of its CEO was $9.7 million in 2007. On average, NStar's top five executives received $3.4 million each, about 30 times more than a typical muni's general manager gets.

Legislative efforts are under way to make new munis possible in Massachusetts.

Co-sponsored by 53 legislators, bill H.3319 is endorsed by more than 115 cities, towns and organizations, including the Cape Light Compact.

NStar opposes this legislation to preserve its monopoly, the real cause of sky-high electric rates in Massachusetts.

Patrick Mehr
Lexington Electric Utility Committee