Massachusetts Consumer Group Calls for Local Control, Competitive Franchising Option for Local Governments
BOSTON, April 12, 1996

CONSUMERS FOR AFFORDABLE, CLEAN ELECTRICITY

ACORN---Action Energy---Alternatives for Community and Environment---American Lung Association of MA---Boston Oil Consumers Alliance-Bowdoin Street Health Center---Cape and Islands Self-Reliance---Center for Ecological Technology---C-FACE---Citizen Action of MA---Clean Water Action Alliance of MA---Concerned Citizens and Businesses of Agawam---Conservation Law Foundation---Earthworks Projects, Inc.---Eco-Boston---Environmental Diversity Forum---Hands Across the River Foundation---Haverhill Environmental League---Hopkinton Energy Committee---Lawrence Environmental Action Group---Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions---Massachusetts Audobon Society---MA Campaign to Clean Up Hazardous Waste---MA Citizens for Safe Energy---MA Consumers' Coalition---MA Save James Bay---MASSPIRG---National Consumer Law Center---New England Physicians for Social Responsibility---Regional Environmental Council---Union of Concerned Scientists---Watchdogs for an Environmentally Safe Town---

Consumers for Affordable, Clean Electricity, a Massachusetts Coalition of Local Governments, Consumer and Environmental groups, conditioned its support of electric industry restructuring upon the provision of local control, competitive franchising, environmental protection, and other public interests.

First among these interests announced is Consumer Power. "Consumers and local governments must maintain the right to effectively shape or challenge policies affecting all aspects of electricity supply. Local governments must have the authority to choose the competitive franchise model for their communities," the press release announced.

In its comments filed on restructuring plans submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for its restructuring docket, the coalition emphasized that the benefits of competition must be extended beyond large industrial interests and the deregulated electric companies "must not be limited to only the largest industrial consumers," adding that "any electric market system must prohibit the ability of energy providers from exercising excessive market power."

The conditions presented by Consumers for Affordable, Clean Electricity include: 1. Consumer Power. Consumers and local governments must maintain the right to effectively shape or challenge policies affecting all aspects of electricity supply. Local governments must have the authority to choose the competitive franchise model for their communities.

2. Environmental Protection. Public health and the environment must not be sacrificed in a rush to dirty energy sources that might be cheaper in the short term. All plants, old and new, must be held accountable to increasingly stricter new plant emission standards.

3. Fair Rates. Residential and small business customers mist see substantial and immediate rate reductions. These reductions must not be limited to only the largest industrial customers. The public must not be unfairly burdened with the results of bad investments made in the past. All Massachusetts consumers must have access to affordable electricity. Low-income customers must have access to affordable electricity through a universal service fund supported by a provider access fee of 0.2 cents per kilowatt hour. Rates must be structured to encourage conservation, and discourage waste.

4. Sustainable Energy Future. A mechanism must be adopted to enable Massachusetts, within 10 years, to obtain at least 4 percent of its electricity from new, clean, renewable and environmentally sound energy sources. A sustainability fund must be established, supported by a charge in the range of 0.2 cents per kilowatt hour on electricity sales, to promote the research, development, and availability of these sustainable energy sources. All customers must share equitably in the benefits of these investments.

Massachusetts must continue its strong policy for conservation and enact a means to reduce electricity needs through improving efficiency by 15 per cent within 10 years. An energy efficiency fund must be established, supported by a charge in the range of 0.6 cents per kilowatt hour on electricity sales, to promote the availability of these energy efficiency options. All customers must share equitably in the benefits of these investments.

5. Reliable Service. No residential customer should be forced to take a less reliable grade of service than is available today in order to receive affordable rates.

6. Real Competition. In order to ensure healthy competition, any electric market system must prohibit the ability of energy providers from exercising excessive market power. 4.