Gov. Charlie Baker is pushing energy proposals to tamp down out-of-control prices that have brought sky-high power bills to customers’ mailboxes across Massachusetts.
“The challenges we face here in the commonwealth and throughout the region are not new; they’ve been with us for a long period of time,” Baker told a gathering of energy insiders yesterday at the annual meeting of ISO-New England, the region’s electric grid operator, at the Seaport World Trade Center.
“That is the challenge of trying to figure out how to simultaneously do something about our competitive position with respect to price and at the same time continuing our initiatives with regard to reducing our carbon footprint.”
Baker’s first proposal would let the state’s power utilities enter into long-term contracts with developers of wind turbine and hydropower projects – but only if they would save ratepayers money in the long run.
His second proposal would raise the state’s cap on net metering to let more people take advantage of rooftop solar projects, an important move as a federal tax credit for such installations expires at the end of next year.
Baker said he has started conversations with legislators about both proposals.
Difficulties getting cheap natural gas into New England have contributed to the huge price spikes during winter months in recent years.
Baker’s energy officials also have proposed letting power utilities buy into natural gas pipelines with the backing of ratepayers to help bring down those costs. But here and elsewhere in New England, those proposals have been sharply criticized by environmentalists and power generators alike.
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