Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office is withholding key details from the public about how she arrived at her Cape Wind rate-cut deal.
Coakley – whose office recently negotiated a 10 percent reduction in how much Cape Wind and National Grid can charge customers for wind-generated electricity – submitted a report late last week full of blacked-out pages related to wind-project price comparisons associated with the multibillion-dollar Cape Wind project.
The report, which was Coakley’s official justification of her rate settlement with Cape Wind and National Grid, includes “redacted” words, numbers, sentences, paragraphs and charts. It even blanked out a question asked of an energy expert hired by Coakley’s office – and the expert’s response was also crossed out, records filed with the Department of Public Utilities show.
A spokeswoman for Coakley said the information was kept from public view by order of the DPU.
“These were rules set out by the DPU,” said Coakley spokeswoman Jill Butterworth. “These are terms (regulators) set.”
She added that keeping some proprietary information secret during rate settlement talks is “very routine.”
Some sources said the blanked-out information dealt exclusively with data submitted by National Grid, not Cape Wind Associates, which has steadfastly refused to publicly release its own pricing guidelines and construction costs.
But critics say it’s just another example of the public largely being left in the dark about the costs associated with Cape Wind – the nation’s first-ever offshore wind project, which is expected to cost between $2 billion and $2.6 billion to build.
“We expected the (Cape Wind) case to be transparent and this has not been the case,” said Bob Rio, senior vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a harsh critic of the high costs of Cape Wind.
“There’s been a lot of behind-closed-doors negotiations” throughout the Cape Wind saga, said Audra Parker, head of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, another critic of the proposed wind development off Cape Cod.
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