From the April, 2012 edition of the Braintree Electric Light Department's Bright Ideas newsletter:
A group representing (BELD) met in February with U.S. Senator Scott Brown and others in Washington, D.C. to discuss electric industry issues impacting BELD. Included in the group were Municipal Light Board (MLB) Chairman James Regan, MLB Commissioners Anthony Agnitti and Thomas Reynolds, and BELD General Manager William Bottiggi.
The Braintree representatives had a productive meeting with Senator Brown, addressing topics that directly affect BELD’s current electric rates as well as those that may affect rates in the future. A significant issue is the dramatic increase in regional transmission costs being imposed on Braintree Electric and other utilities as a result of a major build out of transmission lines throughout the Northeast.
The group informed Senator Brown that Braintree Electric—as recently as 2003—was charging its customers as little as 0.25 cents/KWh but is now being forced to increase those charges to as much as 2.5 cents/KWh by 2016 in order to cover costs. Senator Brown was aware of the issue and is working with Congress to insure that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires that all transmission construction going forward is justified for reliability and economic purposes.
The BELD group also spent considerable time discussing the current state of relatively inexpensive natural gas in the United States. Senator Brown understands the need to work with Congress and FERC to safeguard this natural resource and keep it available and affordable to both residents, for home heating purposes, and electric power plants in the Northeast like Braintree Electric’s Potter and Watson Stations.
Other congressmen visited during the trip included Senator John Kerry and Representatives Steven Lynch, Edward Markey, and William Keating, with whom the same issues affecting Braintree Electric were discussed. The group also met with Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur of FERC, who was updated on the issues as well.