As ratepayer advocates, the Energy and Telecommunications Division represents consumers in matters involving the price and delivery of natural gas, electricity and telecommunication services before federal and state government regulators. The Division works to ensure that Massachusetts businesses and residents have access to reliable, safe and affordable energy.
In Massachusetts, rates for gas and electricity are subject to approval by the Department of Public Utilities. The Department of Telecommunications and Cable regulates telecommunication and cable companies in the Commonwealth. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also provides regulatory oversight in the setting of electric and gas rates in Massachusetts, and the Federal Communication Commission oversees telecommunication utilities.
Federal and state regulators are also tasked with ensuring that electric, natural gas, and telecommunication services are safe and reliable. The Energy and Telecommunications Division works on the state and federal levels to ensure that the Commonwealth’s utility companies make adequate investments in infrastructure, such as power lines and pipelines, to avoid delivery failures.
Over the next decade, there will be an acute need for improvements to the state and regional electric grids, in particular, which could cost billions of dollars. The Attorney General is responsible for closely monitoring the utilities and their infrastructure improvements so that these investments make our regional electric grid, natural gas and telecommunication service delivery more reliable and more efficient.
In working to protect the interests of Massachusetts utility customers, the Division uses a variety of tools, including: participation in administrative proceedings before the regulatory agencies, negotiation of settlement agreements and litigation, either in state or federal courts. Frequently, the Office appears before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in collaboration with ratepayer advocates throughout New England.