Mass. Utilities Charging Customers for Storm Cleanup

CLF pushing officials to change rules

A downed power line in a road after a storm

July 27, 2023 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is pushing Massachusetts officials to change rules that allow utilities like National Grid and Eversource to pass the cost of storm cleanups on to customers. CLF is advocating for the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to require the companies to do proactive planning to make their systems more resilient to major storms and reduce the cost of cleanups.

“Allowing these companies to keep charging customers for storm cleanup over and over is an outrage,” said Johanna Epke, CLF. “It should be up to the utilities to make their infrastructure resilient to the frequent, climate-driven storms we’re seeing more and more. It’s time to change state rules that allow these companies to pass the bill on to Massachusetts families and businesses and hold utilities responsible instead.”

CLF has filed a petition with the DPU calling for these changes, along with filing comments on National Grid’s latest ratemaking petition. The organization is also pushing for the passage of legislation (H.3159 and S.2100) that would require utilities to conduct regular planning for extreme weather events.

Right now, the cost of recovery and restoration of service is passed on to Massachusetts utility customers, and the costs from several big storms over the past few years totals in the hundreds of millions. CLF is pushing for the DPU to require the companies to do proactive planning to make their distribution systems more resilient to these storms as well as heat waves and other extreme weather. This would reduce the damage and cost of restoration.

CLF experts are available for further comment.