Be part of the dialogue. On April 10th, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will hold a hearing about the proposed electric rate hike and we want you to attend. The hearing will take place at 6:00 PM at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.

This January, Eversource requested approval from the DPU to raise rates by $96 million in Massachusetts, the brunt of which will fall on us in Western MA ($60 million from 1.2 million Eastern Massachusetts customers and $36 million from a disproportionate 216,000 customers in Western Massachusetts, this works out to Western MA ratepayers paying a rate increase that is 3x higher than our counterparts in Eastern MA). The economic impact of the proposed rate hike will affect all of us but will be most detrimental to the Berkshires’ largest employers, businesses considering relocating to the Berkshires, and the growth of existing businesses.

Massachusetts already has the fourth highest cost of electricity for Commercial and Industrial customers in the country, we need your help to ensure it does not get worse. Last time we experienced an electric rate hike in January 2007, three mills closed, costing the county 400 jobs. The proposed Eversource rate hike could spell similar consequences. We cannot let something like this happen again.

1Berkshire will stand with local businesses to oppose this rate hike. We need our local businesses, organizations, and advocacy groups to submit comments to the DPU by 5/31, write letters to the Editorial Board of local media outlets expressing concern about the impact of the rate hike on your business, and to show up at the DPU Public Hearing.

If you feel comfortable speaking about this, here are three talking points you can focus on:

  1. This proposed rate increase impacts Western Mass three times more than Eastern Mass.
  2. Western Mass has not enjoyed the strong economic recovery that the eastern part of the state has – this type of rate increase will only further that divide by stifling the growth of existing business’, or worse, forcing those business’ out of our economy completely.
  3. The impact of this rate increase on my business/organization is _________.

See you on April 10th at 6 PM at the Berkshire Athenaeum.

More on this topic: http://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/hinds-opposes-eversource-rate-hike-request,500502