Rogers, Timilty File Utility Ratepayer Protection Bill

Oppose Proposed Access Northeast project

Boston- State Representative John H. Rogers, (D-Norwood), co-filed a bill to protect Walpole ratepayers against unnecessary taxes due to gas pipeline expansion.
The bill, commonly referred to as the Rogers-Timilty bill, is designed to protect utility ratepayers by preventing cost-shifting for new pipeline infrastructure onto them. Representative Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton), Senator James E. Timilty (D-Walpole), and Rogers filed this legislation with their Walpole delegation colleagues Louis L. Kafka (D- Stoughton) and Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) in response to the proposed Access Northeast project.

The proposed pipeline construction project includes a policy of allowing ratepayer financing of gas pipeline infrastructure. Rogers said he has amassed a broad-based coalition of legislators who are united in their opposition to the proposed Access Northeast project.

“After reviewing the proposal I have grave environmental and safety concerns and overall hold strong reservations about the necessity of the proposed Access Northeast project, which would run through several dense residential neighborhoods in West Walpole and the Town Forest. I also find it unacceptable that capital improvements, which will, undoubtedly, lead to greater profits for the energy companies, are proposed to be financed by imposing upon the ratepayers of Massachusetts and the region an additional charge,” said Rogers. “The funding for capital improvements should be derived from the shareholders and investors, to whom the additional profits will flow. If the demand for natural gas is as high as the energy companies believe it to be, then it should not be difficult for them to finance these systemic upgrades without unjustly burdening ratepayers.”

“I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of this very important legislation. We need to protect the ratepayers of Walpole and the entire region from shifting their capital costs onto the backs of their ratepayers” said Senator Jim Timilty (D – Walpole). “The Senate has recently passed a similar matter as a part of an omnibus energy bill and if that effort is not successful, hopefully this bill will add further protection to all the ratepayers of our communities.”

“While respecting the role that the Division of Public Utilities currently has in this process, I think we need to make it very clear that attempts by private corporations to mitigate financial risks by shifting capital costs on to ratepayers will not be tolerated in Massachusetts,” said state Rep. Louis Kafka, D-Stoughton. “I’m pleased that my colleague Representatives Rogers and Timilty filed this bill and I look forward to supporting it in the House.”

“I am proud to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation” said Representative McMurtry, “which will protect our constituents from incurring both the cost and the risk of new pipeline projects while energy companies collect profit and mitigate their capital output.”

Co-sponsors of the legislation include Rep Bill Galvin; State Rep. Paul McMurtry, D-Dedham; State Rep. Timothy R. Madden, D-Nantucket; State Rep. Timothy J. Toomey, D-Cambridge; State Rep. Mary S. Keefe, D-Worcester; State Rep. Denise Provost, D-Somerville; State Rep. William Smitty Pignatelli, D-Lenox; State Rep. Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk; State Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover; State Rep. Gailanne M. Cariddi, D-North Adams; State Rep. Elizabeth A. Malia, D-Jamaica Plain; State Rep. James J. Dwyer, D-Woburn; State Rep. Angelo M. Scaccia, D-Readville; and state Rep. Colleen Garry, D-Dracut.
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