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State weighs hikes in electricity rates

By: Tiffany Chan |

The state’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Bartlett confirmed that you will be seeing higher electric bills beginning in January.

“There’s no question that part of the price increases are related to the fact that we are at the end of the energy pipeline and we are constrained in the natural gas that we are getting now.”

Western Massachusetts Electric Company said their suppliers are charging them more money. In turn, WMECo proposed a 29 percent increase to their basic services rate, effective on New Year’s Day. Customers can expect a $26 increase in their monthly bills. This time last year, overall costs went down 7 cents per month.

The state Department of Public Utilities three commissioners: Chairwoman Ann Berwick, Commissioner Jolette Westbrook and Kate McKeever will decide whether you see a price hike. They do not speak publicly about their decisions before or even after they’re made. Westfield Republican Don Humason told 22 News state lawmakers aren’t involved in this process.

“I think there’s a reason why the state doesn’t cap rates or set a formula because it’s a product that we don’t control directly as a Commonwealth. We don’t even control it directly as a country. This is an international market.”

A WMECo spokesperson says the Department of Public Utilities has never rejected their proposals. The DPU has until Friday, Nov. 21 to decide whether you will pay more for electricity.