Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where's my red pen, part 2!!!

This sounds like a can't miss deal offered by a sleazy salesman.

Here's the headline:
Utility’s rate hike reduced by state
Some electric bills will drop

I admit I rarely read the Money Section....so if I was glancing through it like I usually do, I'd believe that the state was looking out for me and lowering my electric bill.

But then I kept reading, and found out that National Grid wanted a $111.3 million rate increase, and the state Department of Public Utilities reduced their request for a rate increase to $44.3 million.

So here's my modified headline:
Utility's rate increases $44.3 million
State DPU approves increases 

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Author Martin Luttrell paraphrases the ruling with this gem: "So, as customers use less energy, the company can raise rates enough to make the additional $44.3 million in revenues approved by the DPU"

Later in the article, Luttrell quotes DPU Chairman Paul J. Hibbard:

"there are several classes of residential and commercial customers, and that some could see rates go up. For example, under the DPU ruling, low-income customers will see a typical monthly increase of 24 cents, compared to an increase of $3.70 under the company’s proposal."

So the moral of this article is that if I am poor and energy efficient, National Grid will raise my rates so they can turn a profit in order to build more green energy, despite the fact that they are one of four "investor-owned public utilities."  Perhaps we should eliminate the middle man and invest our money in the green energy ourselves.

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And for further proof that you should always read until the end, the article ends with this nugget that should probably be a whole new article:

"The DPU has also denied NSTAR’s petition to collect about $33 million from its customers after negotiating lower power-supply rates.

NSTAR must return roughly $20 million of that amount it has already collected."

2 comments:

Pink Granite said...

I know I'm tired, but this reads like a shell game!
I read the T&G article. Then I Googled and checked the Globe & the Herald. Their "articles" were brief digests of the DPU press release. Which left a poorly written T&G piece in the lead with the most research and lengthiest article.

I understand it's good and important we reduce our overall energy consumption. But it seems wrong to be penalized financially for doing so.
- Lee

SFD said...

The T&G article said it was written with help from the AP, which probably means it was copied from the same article the Globe and Herald used.

The last few sentences amazed me. In a time and a place where newsrooms had reporters and budgets and a nose for a good story, that would make a fantastic piece. I'm trying to find out more about NSTAR having to return $20 million....hopefully some of that will come my way!