Massachusetts energy provider seeks approval for rate increase

US utility Eversource filed a rate proposal with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to raise capital for funding smart grid investments.

The energy company plans to increase its electricity rates for customers in western and eastern Massachusetts to raise capital for funding its smart grid projects.

The filed proposal includes an increase an 10% in monthly electricity rates for consumers using 550KW/h in western Massachusetts as from January 2018. According to its forecasts, Eversource could raise up to $35 million needed to improve the company’s grid infrastructure in western Massachusetts.

For customers of Eversource in eastern Massachusetts, the approval of the proposal will increase their electricity rates by $8.45 to allow the energy provider to raise $60 million needed to implement the utility’s Grid-Wise Performance Plan.

The Grid-Wise Performance Plan is a roadmap developed by Eversource to improve its customer services and the reliability of its grid network by deploying the latest digital and smart grid technologies.

The plan is expected to help the utility firm to meet standards set under multiple federal, national and international regulations.

Smart grid tech

In a press statement, Eversource said it will use the capital raised from increasing its energy bills to deploy advanced sensors and technologies to reduce the occurrence and duration of power outages within its distribution system.

The electricity distribution company will implement an energy storage pilot to test the ability of storage systems in helping to increase utilities’ adoption of renewable energy resources. In addition to piloting an energy storage system, Eversource will also deploy a number of solutions to improve integration of distributed energy resources including solar systems with grid network. [US utility improves grid management with new software].

Craig Hallstrom, president of Massachusetts Electric Operations at Eversource added: “We’ve also worked hard to improve reliability for customers with efforts like our enhanced tree trimming programs, all while holding the line on rising costs.  Now, we’re proposing to increase that commitment and utilise the latest engineering advances – including electric vehicle infrastructure…”

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.