By Bob Katzen
Eversource announced that because of the reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, the power company will voluntarily reduce its rate increases for its 1.4 million Bay State customers. These hikes were approved by the Department of Public Utilities in November.
The increase in Eastern Massachusetts was going to be $12.2 million but the company now says it will use the tax savings to lower the rate by $35.4 million. In Western Massachusetts, the approved increase of $24.8 million will instead be a $16.5 million increase — a savings of $8.3 million.
“We believe it’s important that our customers reap the benefit of a lower tax rate,” said Eversource Massachusetts Electric Operations President Craig Hallstrom. “As a regulated power company our rates are based on our costs, including federal taxes, so if taxes are reduced ultimately costs are reduced and that benefits our customers.”
The reductions were announced two weeks after Attorney General Maura Healey called on Eversource and other state utility companies to pass their tax savings along to its customers.
“This tax bill is being paid for by the people of Massachusetts, so the money should go back in their pockets,” said Healey. “Our office filed this action to ensure that these savings go to customers. We are glad that Eversource has done the right thing by agreeing to lower its rates and we call on all our state-regulated utilities to do the same.”
Eversource spokeswoman Priscilla Ress dismissed Healey’s claim that the rate cuts were a reaction to Healey’s action and said the filing was strictly voluntary.