Study: Municipal electric utilities greener, have lower costs



Hudson is one of 14 Central Massachusetts towns to use public utilities for electricity. A new study says those utilities' customers pay far less than those getting power from private utilities.

study released Wednesday by an energy group serving such providers.

The state's 41 municipal electric utilities deliver nearly 60% more of their electricity from cleaner energy sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear energy, according to the report, which was conducted by the consultant Analysis Group and commissioned by the Municipal Electric Association of Massachusetts.

The study, released by the group
Energy New England, reviewed data from the regional power grid manager, ISO New England, and from the municipal utilities.
Those reported savings can add up for consumers. A typical customer pays municipal utilities on average $70.43 per month, the study found. That compares to bills of on average $123.97 for non-municipal Massachusetts utilities and $103.29 for New England customers.

As for environmentally friendly sources of energy, the report says municipal utilities beat their corporate counterparts — Eversource or National Grid, for example — there as well.

Municipal utilities' owned or operated and contracted power generation comes almost entirely — 94% — from power sources not emitting greenhouse gases. Across New England, that rate is 57%.

Energy New England President and CEO John Tzimorangas said public utilities benefit by having constituents who may choose to prioritize cleaner energy sources, and by being able to enter into far longer-term contracts than their larger counterparts.

"We're not quite as subject to market volatility," he said.

Of the state's 41 municipal utilities, 25 also take part in a collective purchasing group.

In addition to Shrewsbury, Holden and Hudson, Central Massachusetts towns with municipal electric utilities are Ashburnham, Boylston, Groton, Littleton, Paxton, Princeton, Sterling, Templeton and West Boylston. Boxborough uses Littleton's utility system, and Stow uses Hudson's.

The state's 41 municipal electric utilities serve more than 400,000 customers and one-seventh of the state's electricity, according to Energy New England.
Municipal electric utilities providing power for communities such as Shrewsbury, Holden and Hudson have rates 42% lower than the state average, according to a