Employers concerned about the rising cost of electricity in Massachusetts take note – it’s time to contact members of a legislative conference committee hammering out an energy bill that could make your current electric bill look like child’s play.
The message: Pass a bill that follows the detailed recommendations of a four-page letter sent by AIM earlier this week.
The Legislature and Governor Charlie Baker have made it a priority to secure passage of an energy/electricity bill prior to the end of the session on July 31.
AIM supports the commonwealth’s efforts to transition its economy to non-carbon fuel sources and attract new businesses to Massachusetts. At the same time, the complex House and Senate energy bills now in conference will have far-reaching and irreversible impacts upon employers and citizens alike during the next two decades.
One fact is clear: The final bill will raise electric rates. Under virtually any scenario the above-market costs passed to ratepayers in the form of rate hikes could be larger than any utility rate hike in history. Massachusetts could end up buying up to 40 percent of its electricity from high-priced renewable energy sources.
The disparity between electric rates in Massachusetts and those in competing states is hindering the ability of employers to attract and retain jobs. The list of internationally known companies that have moved out of Massachusetts just in the last year is long and includes Polartec in Lawrence; SABIC in Pittsfield; Kraft Foods in Woburn; General Mills in Methuen; General Foods in Woburn; and Notini and Sons in Lowell.
Traditional companies located in Gateway cities are at particular risk. These companies are not beneficiaries of the new economy, but still provide good paying jobs, tax revenue and spin-off spending to their communities.
Other Massachusetts employer groups also sent a letter to the conference committee this week urging lawmakers to factor in costs to ratepayers.