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DPU 20-80 Notice of Filing and Public Hearing

Investigation by the Department of Public Utilities on its own Motion into the role of gas local distribution companies as the Commonwealth achieves its target 2050 climate goals.

This is an important notice. Please have it translated. Este é um aviso importante. Quiera mandá-lo traduzir. Este es un aviso importante. Sirvase mandarlo traducir. Questa è un’informazione importante, si prega di tradurla. 此为重要通知。请加以翻译. Đây là một thông báo quan trọng. Xin hãy dịch nó. Sa a se yon avi enpòtan. Tanpri fè li tradui.

Table of Contents

NOTICE OF FILING AND PUBLIC HEARING

On October 29, 2020, the Department of Public Utilities (“Department”) voted to open an investigation into potential policies that will enable the Commonwealth to reach its goal of net‑zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the role of Massachusetts gas local distribution companies (“LDCs”) in achieving that goal.  Investigation by the Department of Public Utilities on its own Motion into the role of gas local distribution companies as the Commonwealth achieves its target 2050 climate goals, D.P.U. 20-80, Vote and Order Opening Investigation at 7 (October 29, 2020) (“Order”).  The Department docketed this matter as D.P.U. 20-80.

In its Order, the Department directed the LDCs to initiate a joint request for proposals (“RFP”) for an independent consultant to conduct a study and prepare a report (“Report”) within the parameters discussed in the Order.  Order at 4.  The resulting Report is to inform and support separate proposals from each LDC that include the LDC’s recommendations and plans for helping the Commonwealth achieve its 2050 climate goals (“Proposals”).  Order at 6.  On March 18, 2022, the LDCs submitted the Report and their Proposals.

Due to certain ongoing safety measures and precautions relating to in person events as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, the Department will conduct two virtual public hearings to receive comments on the Report and the Proposals.  The Department will conduct two public hearings using Zoom videoconferencing:

  • Tuesday, May 3, 2022, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 5, 2022, beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Attendees can join the May 3, 2022 hearing at 7:00 p.m. by entering the link https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82975717590 and the May 5, 2022 hearing at 2:00 p.m. by entering the link https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87436932048 from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.  No prior software download is required.  For audio-only access to the hearings, attendees can dial in to either hearing at (646) 558‑8656 or (301) 715‑8592 (not toll free) and then enter the Meeting ID# 829 7571 7590 for the May 3, 2022 hearing and Meeting ID# 874 3693 2048 for the May 5, 2022 hearing.  If you anticipate providing comments via Zoom during either public hearing, please send an email by Monday, May 2, 2022, to sarah.smegal@mass.gov with your name, email address, mailing address, and hearing date.  If you anticipate commenting by telephone, please leave a voicemail message by Monday, May 2, 2022, at (617) 305-3653 with your name, telephone number, mailing address, and hearing date.

When using the Zoom platform, you will be able to listen to the hearing and provide comments in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese.  To access interpretation services through Zoom during the hearing, click on the “Interpretation” button on the menu at the bottom of the Zoom application screen and select your language (i.e., English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Haitian Creole, or Vietnamese). 

Alternately, any person interested in commenting on the LDCs’ Report and/or Proposals may submit written comments to the Department no later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on Friday, May 6, 2022.  To the extent a person or entity wishes to submit comments in accordance with this Notice, electronic submission, as detailed below, is sufficient.  The Department will consider all comments submitted, but specifically requests comments focused on the following:  (1) the developed pathways set forth in the consultants’ final Report together with the assumptions and analysis underlying the consultants’ final Report and the LDCs’ specific Proposals; (2) the regulatory framework necessary to support the equitable and safe transition to net‑zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; and (3) immediate changes that could be implemented by the LDCs toward decarbonization.

At this time, all filings will be submitted to the Department only in electronic format, consistent with the Department’s June 15, 2021 Memorandum addressing continued modified filing requirements.  Until further notice, parties must retain the original paper version of the filing and the Department will later determine when the paper version must be filed with the Department Secretary.

All comments must be submitted to the Department in .pdf format by e-mail attachment to dpu.efiling@mass.gov and sarah.smegal@mass.gov.  In addition, all comments should be submitted by e-mail to the LDCs’ attorneys as follows:

For Boston Gas Company d/b/a National Grid:

Alexandra Blackmore, Esq.
Andrea Keeffe, Esq.
Bess Gorman, Esq.
National Grid

alexandra.blackmore@us.ngrid.com
andrea.keeffe@nationalgrid.com
bess.gorman@nationalgrid.com

-and-

John K. Habib, Esq.
Ashley S. Wagner, Esq.
Keegan Werlin, LLP

jhabib@keeganwerlin.com
awagner@keeganwerlin.com

For Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company d/b/a Unitil:

Patrick Taylor, Esq.
Matthew Campbell, Esq.
Unitil Service Corp

taylorp@unitil.com
campbellm@unitil.com

For Liberty Utilities (New England Natural Gas Company) Corp. d/b/a Liberty Utilities:

Ronald J. Ritchie, Esq.
Liberty Utilities

r.j.ritchie@libertyutilities.com

-and-

Kevin F. Penders, Esq.
Keegan Werlin LLP

kpenders@keeganwerlin.com

For The Berkshire Gas Company:

Daniel P. Venora, Esq.
Keegan Werlin LLP

dvenora@keeganwerlin.com

For NSTAR Gas Company and Eversource Gas of Massachusetts d/b/a Eversource Energy:

Danielle Winter, Esq.
Keegan Werlin LLP

dwinter@keeganwerlin.com

The text of the email must specify:  (1) the docket number of the proceeding (D.P.U. 20-80); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; and (3) a brief descriptive title of the document.  The electronic file name should identify the document but should not exceed 50 characters in length.  Importantly, all large files submitted must be broken down into electronic files that do not exceed 20 MB.

At this time, a paper copy of the Report and the Proposals will not be available for public viewing at the LDCs’ offices or the Department.  The filing and other documents submitted in electronic format will be posted as soon as practicable at on the Department’s website through our online File Room at:  https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/DPU/Fileroom/dockets/bynumber (enter “20‑80”).

Reasonable accommodations at public hearings for people with disabilities are available upon request.  Contact the Department’s ADA Coordinator at DPUADACoordinator@mass.gov.  Include a description of the accommodation you will need, including as much detail as you can.  Also include a way the Department can contact you if we need more information.  Please provide as much advance notice as possible.  Last minute requests will be accepted, but may not be able to be accommodated.  To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), contact the Department’s ADA Coordinator at DPUADACoordinator@mass.gov.

Any person desiring further information regarding the Report and the Proposals should contact counsel for the LDCs as set forth above.  Any person desiring further information regarding this notice should contact Sarah A. Smegal, Hearing Officer, Department of Public Utilities, at sarah.smegal@mass.gov.

ORDER OF NOTICE

NSTAR Gas Company and Eversource Gas of Massachusetts each d/b/a Eversource Energy; The Berkshire Gas Company; Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company d/b/a Unitil; Liberty Utilities (New England Natural Gas Company) Corp. d/b/a Liberty Utilities; and Boston Gas Company d/b/a National Grid (collectively, “Companies”), are required to jointly publish the attached Notice of Filing and Public Hearing (“Notice”) on or before April 19, 2022, in (1) either The Boston Globe or the Boston Herald; (2) The Eagle Tribune; (3) The Enterprise; (4) the Berkshire Eagle; (5) The Sentinel & Enterprise; (6) The Fall River Herald News; and (7) the Sun Chronicle. 

Further, the Companies are required to:

  • Jointly publish the Spanish language version of the attached Notice in the following newspapers on or before April 19, 2022:  (1) El Mundo; (2) El Planeta; and (3) El Pueblo Latino.  If any of these newspapers are limited print or online only, the Companies shall jointly publish the Notice in the digital publication consistent with the foregoing deadline.
  • Jointly publish the Portuguese language version of the attached Notice in the following newspapers on or before April 19, 2022:  (1) Portuguese Times; and (2) Brazilian Times.  If any of these newspapers are limited print or online only, the Companies shall jointly publish the Notice in the digital publication consistent with the foregoing deadline.
  • Jointly publish the Chinese language version of the attached Notice in the following newspaper on or before April 19, 2022:  (1) Sampan.  If this newspaper is limited print or online only, the Companies shall jointly publish the Notice in the digital publication consistent with the foregoing deadline.
  • Jointly publish the Haitian Creole language version of the attached Notice in the following newspaper on or before April 19, 2022:  (1) the Haitian Times.  If this newspaper is limited print or online only, the Companies shall jointly publish the Notice in the digital publication consistent with the foregoing deadline.
  • Jointly publish the Vietnamese language version of the attached Notice in the following newspapers on or before April 19, 2022:  (1) the Thang Long Newspaper.  If this newspaper is limited print or online only, the Companies shall jointly publish the Notice in the digital publication consistent with the foregoing deadline.

In addition, the Companies are required to serve a copy of the attached Notice on or before April 4, 2022, on:  (1) the Mayors, the Chairs of Select Boards, the Town Clerks, and the City Clerks in their service territories; (2) the current list of D.P.U. 20‑80 stakeholders as maintained by the LDCs’ stakeholder engagement facilitator, Environmental Resources Management; and (3) any person who has filed a request for notice with the Companies.  The Companies’ service may be by electronic distribution, which the Department finds reasonable and consistent with the public interest. 

Finally, the Companies shall prominently display the Notice, as well as the Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese language versions of the Notice, on their websites and the Future of Gas website from three business days following receipt of the Notices from the Department through May 6, 2022.

The Companies shall make proof of publication (including evidence of the required website postings) and return of service by May 13, 2022.

By Order of the Department,

/s/                    

Mark D. Marini, Secretary     

Date published: March 25, 2022
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