Today, the Patrick Administration reached a breakthrough settlement agreement in the proposed merger between NStar and Northeast Utilities, which, if approved, will create one of the country’s largest public utilities. The agreement is a big win for renewable energy, as it positions Massachusetts to finally unleash the power of Cape Wind, our region’s most promising new clean energy source, and to lead the rest of the country forward on offshore wind.
The settlement ensures that this powerful new utility will be in lockstep with Massachusetts’ nation-leading clean energy policies and propel the state forward instead of backwards in implementing them.
This is a significant advancement for Massachusetts and all of New England in a number of regards:
- It removes the last major hurdle to building Cape Wind;
- It ensures that the Commonwealth will continue to reap the cost savings and environmental benefits of the Massachusetts Green Communities Act;
- It will help ensure that imported hydropower does not diminish other renewable energy deployment in Massachusetts and beyond;
- It will reduce barriers to installation and operation of small, distributed renewable energy generating facilities in Massachusetts; and
- It will freeze the merged utility’s rates for 4 years, will require transparent public review of NSTAR’s electric and gas rates before the rate freeze expires, and will deliver – upon approval of the merger – an immediate 50% credit to Massachusetts customers based on expected merger savings during the first 4 years following merger approval
We applaud the Administration for recognizing that a lot of ground needed to be made up in order for this merger to benefit the public and for covering that ground with thoughtful terms that benefit ratepayers and the environment both in the short and the long-term.