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Note: bold by MAMEC

Friday, December 18, 2009

Municipal utilities charge lower rates

I’m writing in response to the article, “
Ice storm memories leave bad taste” (Sunday Telegram, Dec. 6).

It’s important to note the rate differences between large Massachusetts utilities and municipal utilities, which are quire substantial.

In Massachusetts there are 41 municipal utilities, which are cost effective. In Littleton in particular, it’s noted in their local paper,
The Littleton Independent, that “a Littleton customer using 1,000 kilowatts per month has a monthly bill of $101.15. The same usage in Ayer, served by National Grid cost $149.13; while in Action, served by NStar, that usage cost $170.68.”

In the area served by Unitil — Ashby, Fitchburg, Lunenburg and Townsend, serving 28,000 ratepayers — Unitil charges even more, $187.21, based on its variable rate supplier change.

In summary,
a household currently using 1,000 kilowatts per month pays $101.15 in Littleton, $149.13 to National Grid, $170.68 to NStar, and $187.21 to Unitil, the highest rate in the state.

Unitil’s rates — 85 percent higher than in nearby Littleton — impose a substantial and unnecessary drag on the economic development of our area. If the Legislature makes new municipal utilities possible in Massachusetts, Unitil will finally notice and work harder to reduce its sky-high rates.

The critical need for this is evident.

Ratepayers should write in support of this legislation to: for the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.