Massachusetts Utility Regulators Order Investigation into the Management of One of Their Largest Electric Providers. When Will Yours?

By B.N. Frank

Americans everywhere seem to be grumbling about their increasing electric bills due to “technology upgrades” (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).  Since 2009 the federally mandated installation of EXPENSIVE, exceptionally problematic, environmentally unfriendly (see 1, 2, 3, 4), and exceptionally vulnerable (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) “Smart” Meters and Grids are a huge part of this for all utility customers regardless of which company is providing them.

Digital or wireless “Smart” Meters were NOT necessary for solar power in the past.  Regardless, many environmentalists continue to be loyal to “Smart” Meters + Solar Power marketing promises even though these meters have never worked right and customers have been forced to pay higher bills for them anyway (see 1, 2).  Now Massachusetts utility regulators have been pressured to investigate why one of their utility companies is not keeping its promises on solar power, electric vehicles, and cybersecurity despite significant customer rate increases.

From Energy Central:

BOSTON — State utility regulators have ordered a broad investigation into the management of National Grid in a rare move born of concerns that one of the state’s largest electricity providers failed to communicate about the potential for severe delays in solar power installations.

The Department of Public Utilities is also questioning National Grid’s management of its electric vehicles program and whether the company’s cybersecurity plan adequately takes into account benefits for customers who are paying for the technology upgrades.

The independent management audit was ordered as part of a 586-page decision issued late last month in which DPU approved a $90.4 million increase in National Grid’s base distribution rates.

In blunt terms, regulators said the rare, but not unprecedented audit was necessary to examine “potential management problems through to the highest levels of the organization.”

[…]

The approved increase was $41.8 million less than what National Grid requested, and is the first adjustment to the utility’s rates since 2016. The department also approved an increase in the monthly residential fee to $7 from $5.50.

Regulators, however, said they were “troubled” that the company had not informed DPU of the potential for a major study of transmission infrastructure in central and western Massachusetts.

The decision said the “cluster study” has the potential to delay the interconnection of up to 900 megawatts of solar power, which is more than half of the state’s target for solar development under the renewable energy program known as SMART.

“The Company’s failure to meaningfully engage with the Department and stakeholders prior to the commencement of the Cluster Study raises serious concerns about management decisions made at the Company, whether these decisions serve the public interest, and about the efficiency and timeliness of communications between personnel performing the work and management,” the DPU decision stated.

[…]

“I have not seen this before. It was surprise,” said Jeremy McDiarmid, vice president of policy and government affairs for the Northeast Clean Energy Council, about the independent management audit.

McDiarmid said the cluster study has created real obstacles for solar power developers, and has required the DPU to work closely with utilities, developers and ISO New England to find “creative ways” to deploy projects.

“It does not necessarily freeze solar development but it does create very strong headwinds and presents a challenge to the state to meet its clean energy goals,” McDiarmid said.

The DPU also said it found “merit” to Attorney General Maura Healey’s concerns that National Grid’s investment in information technology and cybersecurity was “reactive, uncoordinated, and has not been vetted to determine benefits Massachusetts ratepayers receive for the costs allocated to them.”’

Bummer, right?

Activist Post reports regularly about ALL issues associated with utility “Smart” Meters and Grids.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites.


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