Eversource's rate case before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities is moving forward. In a first track involving issues other than rate design, discovery closed as of August 4, 2017 and intervenors' reply briefs are due August 18, 2017. Eversource is seeking approval of the merger of NSTAR Electric Company and WMECo, now referred to as Eversource East and Eversource West, as well as rate increases and a rate redesign that would impact both companies’ ratepayers.
The proposed plan would increase rates by $284 million over the next five years. As soon as the new rates go into effect (if approved by DPU), there would be an immediate rate increase of $96 million. Many of the intervening parties, including the Attorney General, have opposed this plan in part because Eversource shareholders have never had it better with stock values at record highs. NSTAR reported shareholder returns of 13.2 and 11.3 percent the last two years and WMECo shareholders did not fair poorly either at 8.9 and 9.1 percent. Eversource is asking DPU to approve a baseline annualized return on equity of 10.5%.
As part of its rate redesign, Eversource has proposed consolidating over 50 separate rate classes into 11, with very little discussion around exemptions for existing customers and many municipal customers are voicing objections. Significant areas of concern include the potential impact on net metering credit calculations with increased fixed charges coupled with the possible imposition of a "mandatory minimum reliability contribution" authorized by legislation signed by Governor Baker in April 2016.
DPU has stated that it will issue a separate final order on rate design no later than December 29, 2017, and a final order on other issues, including the establishment of a revenue requirement, by November 30, 2017.
For further information about these matters, please contact Courtney Feeley Karp at email@example.com or 617-502-6284.
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