Bay State gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill has accused Gov. Deval Patrick of ignoring critical aspects of National Grid’s operations because the energy provider’s top executives have contributed to his re-election campaign.
Today, the Herald reported that energy provider National Gird, which has some 1.2 million Massachusetts customers, has passed on hundreds of thousands of dollars in executives expenses to ratepayers.
In 2008 and 2009, National Grid’s Bay State customers paid for executives’ swimming pool covers and snow plowing services and their children’s private school tuition.
The jaw-dropping expenses – which include everything from $8 beers at Gillette Stadium to $546 in skin cream for an executive’s child – surfaced this summer, while National Grid was before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, seeking a $106 million rate increase, the largest in the state’s history.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley uncovered the passed-on expenses as her office tried to determine why National Grid needed such a sizable increase.
The rate request is still under state review.
Cahill, the Massachusetts treasurer who is running for governor as an independent, called Grid’s proposed gas rate hike “outrageous and unacceptable.
“If the Governor had been paying attention to the company’s operations instead of catering to its executives for campaign donations, he would have noticed the excessive costs passed on to ratepayers,” Cahill said.
In December, after state utility commissioners granted National Grid a $44 million rate hike, the energy provider entered into negotiations to buy power from Cape Wind, a controversial offshore wind power project that is strongly supported by Patrick.
A week after those deals were announced, Patrick joined Grid executives and their spouses at a lobbyist’s office for a private wine and cheese party. That night, the executives and their spouses donated thousands of dollars to Patrick’s campaign fund.
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