The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

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Building & Transportation Emissions Heading in the Wrong Direction

At Green Energy Consumers Alliance, we’re all about that “think globally, act locally” thing. So it hurts to report that our beloved states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have carbon emissions going up, not down as their laws and the planet require. Unfortunately, this is true at a global and national level as well. These sobering facts are a renewed call to action for all of us.

A Reminder On Electric Cars, Climate, and Air Pollution

A June 18 Boston Globe story, “If even the secretary of transportation won’t take the train, who will?” greatly understates the value that electric vehicles bring to us in terms of reducing pollution causing both global warming and severe health problems. Much of the article is about how we need to support public transportation and reduce the total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by individual cars. We agree heartily on that point. We absolutely need to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and overall VMT to meet our climate goals, and public transit is a key way of doing that. (Not to mention all the social and economic benefits of a better public transit system.) But the cars that are left on our roads do need to be electric, and as soon as possible, for the sake of our climate and our health.

Picture of Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek

Massachusetts State Senate Passed a Good Climate Bill

On Tuesday, June 25, the Mass. State Senate passed, by a vote of 38-2, An Act Upgrading the Grid and Protecting Consumers. We appreciate the Senate’s good work. They’re doing the right thing for consumers by banning retail electricity suppliers. They’re supporting EV adoption. And they are authorizing the Department of Public Utilities to regulate gas utilities in alignment with our climate mandates.

The High Cost of Saying NO to Offshore Wind

If you’re a New Englander concerned about climate change, you’re likely anxiously awaiting the results of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island’s joint offshore wind solicitation. With recent supply chain and economic constraints causing project costs to rise, the three states issued a joint solicitation to allow developers to bid on larger projects and access economies of scale in October of 2023. They received the following proposals in March of this year.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Massachusetts Polling Shows Strong Support for Gas Utility Regulation and Electrification

Recent polling conducted by MassInc on behalf of Rewiring America and Green Energy Consumers Alliance shows strong public support for regulating gas utilities in ways that are compatible with the Commonwealth’s climate laws. The public also supports efforts aimed at switching from fossil fuel heating to electrification.

Picture of Larry Chretien Larry Chretien

Rhode Island Must Get Serious About Decarbonizing Buildings

The Act on Climate is one of the strongest climate policies in the nation, mandating that Rhode Island reduce its emissions 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. However, the law is not self-implementing. For the state to meet these targets, it must implement additional policies, especially in the building sector, which accounts for nearly 40% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Despite this significant contribution to GHGs, Rhode Island lacks a clear, actionable plan to decarbonize buildings.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

How the “Purchase of Receivables” System Drives Up Everyone's Electric Rates in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, customers of Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil receive electricity bills that are split into two sections: distribution (or delivery) and supply. The distribution section pays for the utility that physically puts up the wires that move power. When it comes to the supply side of bills, Massachusetts is one of a minority of states that allows residential customers to buy their electricity supply in three ways, from their utility (also known as basic service), from their community through a municipal aggregation plan, or a third-party supplier sometimes called a “competitive supplier.” Even when a customer has chosen to get their supply from a municipal aggregation program or a third-party supplier, they almost always receive one bill sent by their distribution utility with charges for both distribution and supply.

Picture of Carrie Katan Carrie Katan