MA Customers Benefit from Merging of Electric Companies

Customers understandably eye mergers warily, especially when the merger is between two large electric companies. Nobody wants to see a monopoly take over in their area. However, the planned merger of NStar and Northeast Utilities, two Massachusetts electric companies, should benefit customers in several ways thanks to the terms of the agreement.

The first way that customers win is through their rates, at least for the immediate future. The two companies have agreed that they will freeze electricity rates, including rates for WMECO customers, for the next four years as a part of this merger. All electric distribution rates will remain the same as they are now through 2015. Changing rates can always be frustrating for customers so a secure rate is considered a benefit to many.

Another small way that customers win from this merger is through a one-time rebate. The merged utility company has agree that they will offer a $21 million rebate which amounts to a savings of about $13 or $14 for each customer. While this isn’t a huge amount, it’s a nice little bonus on one of the customer’s bills. Plus it’s a show of good faith from the merging companies.

Finally, the two utilities have agreed that if the merger moves forward they will purchase more than one quarter of their electricity from the Cape Wind project for the next fifteen years minimum. This would help support wind power development and the important development of natural resource energy throughout the state. The merged company agrees that if for some reason that Cape Wind project doesn’t break ground by 2016 then they will purchase the same amount of clean energy elsewhere.

Another utility, National Grid, agreed to buy 50 percent of power output from Cape Wind back in 2010.

The merger has not yet been approved by the Department of Public Utilities. It needs to be approved in Massachusetts as well as in Connecticut. However, things are looking good for the merger to move forward thanks to these new agreements.


Publish Date: 2012-03-06 13:16:47

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