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

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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 Highlights

An Act Upgrading the Grid and Protecting Consumers would: 

  • Ban “competitive electric suppliers," which cost Massachusetts consumers more than $577 million over the past eight years, according to a report from the state attorney general's office. This has been a priority for Green Energy Consumers Alliance and one hundred other organizations from across the Commonwealth.  
  • Support electric vehicle (EV) adoption by prohibiting condo boards and similar associations from restricting people from installing EV charging, making it easier for municipalities to procure electric school buses, directing the Department of Public Utilities to investigate how to make on-street charging easier, funding the state's EV rebate program through 2027, and directing the MBTA to plan the electrification of all commuter rail lines.
  • Speed up the siting process for solar, wind, storage, and other clean energy projects by setting 15-month permitting deadlines for large projects, and 12-month deadlines for small projects. 
  • Expand the ability for gas companies to meet their customer's heating needs through non-gas alternatives, like network geothermal heat pumps.  
  • Direct the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to consider greenhouse gas emissions when considering expanding access to new gas consumers or gas service and when expanding or replacing gas pipelines. 
  • Expand the bottle bill, adding noncarbonated beverages, wine and spirits to the list of containers eligible for a bottle deposit, increasing the deposit amount from five cents to ten cents. Small alcohol bottles, known as “nips,” would also be included in the deposit program. 

While we support all of the above provisions, the Section 101 which directs the DPU to regulate gas utilities with climate targets in mind is the one that would move the needle the most on the Commonwealth’s emissions over time. Reforming our gas utility laws to account for climate change has been one of our legislative priorities and that of 70 plus organizations that have signed onto the Clean Heat Platform. 


Attention Turns to the House of Representatives

Obviously, for a bill to become law, it needs to pass both the Senate and House and be signed by the governor. We expect that an energy bill will be released by the House in the next week or so and be voted on by the full House on or about July 10. Furthermore, we expect that the legislature will essentially end their session by the end of July. In other words, if a climate bill is not passed within the month, we will have to wait until the next session in 2025. 

We sense that the House bill will likely include provisions regarding the siting of energy infrastructure and increasing the adoption of electric vehicles. Back in April, we wrote about the House committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy made recommendations to pass several good energy bills on a wide range of items that could appear in an overall climate bill.  

Nonetheless, we are concerned that unless state representatives hear more from their constituents, the important changes to the way the DPU regulates gas utilities will not be included. This is important because if the House does pass a climate bill, the House and Senate will establish a conference committee to iron out differences between their respective bills. For those concerned about the climate crisis, the closer that the House’s language on gas policy gets to what we see in the Senate bill, the better.  

It is worth noting that earlier in this legislative session, many members of the House, listed below, co-sponsored the Future of Clean Heat bill which was the basis for the Senate bill’s gas utility reform.  This indicates strong support and provides some grounds for optimism. We are hopeful that these members will work to make gas utility reform a part of the House climate bill. 


House Member District
Steven Owens 29th Middlesex
Jennifer Balinsky Armini  8th Essex
Michelle L. Ciccolo  15th Middlesex
Vanna Howard  17th Middlesex
Lindsay N. Sabadosa 1st Hampshire 
Jon Santiago 9th Suffolk 
James K. Hawkins 2nd Bristol 
Margaret R. Scarsdale  1st Middlesex 
Ruth B. Balser  12th Middlesex 
Kenneth I. Gordon 21st Middlesex 
James C. Arena-DeRosa  8th Middlesex 
Sean Garballey  23rd Middlesex 
Rodney M. Elliott  16th Middlesex 
Mike Connolly  26th Middlesex 
Samantha Montaño  15th Suffolk 
Brian W. Murray  10th Worcester 
Erika Uyterhoeven  27th Middlesex 
Kay Khan  11th Middlesex 
Carmine Lawrence Gentile  13th Middlesex 
Marjorie C. Decker  25th Middlesex 
Simon Cataldo  14th Middlesex 
Jay D. Livingstone  8th Suffolk 
Danillo A. Sena  37th Middlesex 
Jeffrey Rosario Turco  19th Suffolk 
Tommy Vitolo  15th Norfolk 
Tram T. Nguyen  18th Essex 
Dawne Shand  1st Essex 
Adrianne Pusateri Ramos  14th Essex 
Kristin E. Kassner  2nd Essex 
Tricia Farley-Bouvier  2nd Berkshire 
Kate Donaghue  19th Worcester 
John Francis Moran  9th Suffolk 
Natalie M. Blais  1st Franklin 
Patricia A. Duffy  5th Hampden 
William F. MacGregor  10th Suffolk 
Thomas M. Stanley  9th Middlesex 
Manny Cruz  7th Essex 
Estela A. Reyes  4th Essex


Public Opinion in Favor of Transition from Fossil Fuel Heat to Electrification

In 2024, MassINC Polling Group ran a poll commissioned by Rewiring America and Green Energy Consumers Alliance, to survey Massachusetts residents on their attitudes toward building electrification policy. We found strong support for policies requiring all-electric new construction, emission reduction mandates for large buildings, and the sort of gas utility reforms contained in the Senate bill. We are hopeful that House members will keep these survey results in mind as they deliberate on their climate bill.  


Retail Electricity Suppliers

The Senate bill takes what we believe is the only logical position on the issue of predatory, greenwashing electricity suppliers by banning them from signing new contracts with residential customers. Unfortunately, the House has been resistant, as reported by the Boston Globe and WBUR. This is another issue that House members can rectify in their climate bill.  


How to Help Pass a Good Climate Bill

If you want to help get a strong climate bill to makes it through the Legislature, contact your State Senator (you can find their contact information here) and thank them for passing their climate bill. Then contact your State Representative and ask them to support a strong climate bill that reforms our natural gas laws and protects consumers from third-party electric suppliers.