"When NSTAR Electric and Northeast Utilities petitioned to
merge in late 2010, the state took the opportunity to use
its utilities regulatory power to further its environmental
goals," writes Balko in a Rappaport Briefing article.
He points out that the Massachusetts Department of Public
Utilities has raised its standards for utility mergers,
which previously required that such consolidations cause
"no net harm" to the public.
"In light of the new requirements of the Global Warming
Solution Act and other factors, DPU decided to reconsider
its standard. As a result, utilities … must demonstrate
'net benefits' to the public, including furtherance of the
state's environmental goals. This is a much higher standard
for the utilities to meet," Balko writes.
Briefing offers a collection of student commentaries on
issues confronting state and local government in
Massachusetts, from the new "Bottle Bill' to
English-language learning and DNA access.