Finegold: Electricity choice bill 'incredibily complicated'

Published: March 19, 2010

BOSTON - Rep. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, the House chairman of the Telecommunications Committee yesterday was delivered petitions signed by 2,275 people, including Gov. Deval Patrick, who support legislation aimed at fostering more municipal electric companies.

But Finegold told activists that lawmakers need more time to work through an "incredibly complicated" issue.

The committee this month voted to give itself more time — until July 14, two weeks before formal sessions end — to work on a pair of muni-electric bills.

After receiving the petition, Finegold said the committee was grappling with "data analysis" and the details of how to facilitate more competition in electricity transmission.

"We still need more time to examine it," Finegold told activists Patrick Mehr, Carolynn McCarthy of Lunenburg and Cathy Clark.  "Staff is going to be busy.  We've got a lot of work to do." The activists told Finegold they believe giving consumers more choices in the electricity arena will lower rates, improve services and help reduce energy costs that are a burden on businesses.

Reps. Jennifer Benson, D-Lunenberg, and Stephen DiNatale, D-Fitchburg, joined the activists in Finegold's office to impress upon him the dissatisfaction of Unitil customers in their area with service and electric rates, which Benson said are a drain on manufacturing.

Five of the six gubernatorial candidates signed the petition, with sponsors saying Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker's campaign did not respond to a request for support.