For Immediate Release - December 01, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley Issues Statement on Department of Public Utilities Decisions on National Grid and NSTAR

AG's advocacy results in over $100 million in savings for ratepayers

BOSTON - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley today issued the following statement regarding the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) decision to reduce National Grid's $111 million electricity distribution hike request by $67 million, or approximately 60 percent, while approving portions of the company's request to "decouple" its rate structure. In briefs filed on September 28, 2009 and October 15, 2009, Attorney General Coakley's office had requested that the DPU reject various aspects of the rate increase sought by National Grid and also requested several modifications to the company's decoupling proposal and rate plan. In a separate order, the DPU also announced that it denied NSTAR's petition to collect $33 million from customers, an amount the company claimed was its share of benefits associated with a rate settlement approved by the department in 2005.

"As a result of our office's advocacy and the department's decisions yesterday, customers of these two electricity companies will see over $100 million dollars in savings. We are pleased that the department agreed with many of our recommendations in the National Grid case and reduced the company's overall rate request by 60 percent, eliminating many proposals that provide no customer benefit and adopting adjustments to the company's finances that reduce the company's rates. At the same time, other aspects of the company's rate plan approved by the department including full decoupling, inclining block rates and a new mechanism for recovering capital expenses have the potential to increase rates in the future significantly for customers. We intend to carefully scrutinize any such future filings to ensure the savings for ratepayers achieved today are not wiped out under these policies and future filings.

We are also pleased with the department's decision to deny NSTAR's request to recover $33 million sought under the terms of a 2005 settlement for savings associated with the company's litigation efforts before the Federal Energy Regulator Commission (FERC). The department's decision is consistent with our position that the company's efforts predated the settlement and did not warrant a $33 million payout. In addition, the Attorney General's Office has significantly increased its direct representation of customers in regional wholesale market and transmission construction and cost matters before FERC over the last several years as provided under the Green Communities Act."

The Attorney General's Office serves as the utility ratepayer advocate for all Massachusetts consumers. Over the past six months, the Attorney General's Office of Ratepayer Advocacy represented National Grid's customers in 5 public hearings through the Company's service territory and 21 days of evidentiary hearings at the DPU offices in Boston involving 25 witnesses and almost 2000 exhibits.