Electric Sector Modernization Plan Resources

Here you will find information on the electric sector modernization plans (ESMP) filed by investor-owned electric distribution companies.

Each investor-owned electric distribution operating operating in Massachusetts must periodically submit an ESMP to the DPU for review.  The first ESMPs were submitted to the Department on January 29, 2024.

Table of Contents


On August 11, 2022, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted G.L. c. 164, §§ 92B-92C, through An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, St. 2022, c. 179, § 53, that requires investor-owned electric distribution companies operating in Massachusetts (Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil) periodically to each submit an ESMP with the DPU.  The first ESMP filings are due on January 29, 2024.

Prior to filing with the DPU, each company must submit its draft ESMP for review, input, and recommendations to the Grid Modernization Advisory Council (GMAC) established in G.L. c. 164, § 92C.  The GMAC must provide recommendations to the companies on the draft plans within 70 days before the companies file the plans with the Department.

The statute requires each company to develop an ESMP to proactively upgrade its electrical distribution system and, where applicable, transmission system to: 

  1. improve grid reliability, communications, and resiliency;
  2. enable increased, timely adoption of renewable energy and distributed energy resources;
  3. promote energy storage and electrification technologies necessary to decarbonize the environment and economy;
  4. prepare for future climate driven impacts on the transmission and distribution systems;
  5. accommodate increased transportation electrification, increased building electrification and other potential future demands on distribution and, where applicable, transmission systems; and
  6. minimize or mitigate impacts on the ratepayers of the Commonwealth, thereby helping the Commonwealth realize its statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits and sub-limits under Chapter 21N. 

Each ESMP filed with the DPU must also include: 

  1. a summary of all proposed and related investments, alternatives to these investments and alternative approaches to financing these investments that have been reviewed, are under consideration or have been approved by the DPU previously;
  2. identification of customer benefits for all proposed investments and alternative approaches to financing those investments;
  3. three planning horizons for electric demand, including a five‑year and ten‑year forecast and a demand assessment through 2050; and
  4. a list of each GMAC recommendation, including an explanation of whether and why each recommendation was adopted, adopted as modified, or rejected.

The DPU must approve, approve with modification, or reject each ESMP within seven (7) months of submittal with the DPU.  To be approved, an ESMP must provide net benefits for customers and meet the criteria enumerated in G.L. c. 164, § 92B(a). 

First ESMP Filings

The DPU assigned the following docket numbers to each company’s January 29, 2024 ESMP filing:

Each company’s ESMP, related filings, and all Department procedural notices and memoranda, rulings, and orders regarding each company’s ESMP will be posted to the Department’s online File Room in the dockets linked above.

The following discovery logs list all discovery questions asked by the Department and the parties in these proceedings to the companies on their filings:  Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil.

Department Issuances and Orders

To ensure an administratively efficient process within the timeframe required by statute, the DPU has taken multiple actions to date, including the issuance of various procedural memos, notices, and Orders.

Docket Notices and Key Hearing Officer Procedural Memos

  • On August 7, 2023, and November 14, 2023, the DPU issued pre-filing memos establishing filing and procedural requirements for its investigation of the first ESMP filings.
  • On February 2, 2024, the DPU issued Notices (D.P.U. 24‑10, D.P.U. 24‑11, and D.P.U. 24-12) which provide details about each company’s ESMP filing and on how members of the public could comment on those filings.
  • On February 23, 2024, the DPU issued a Procedural Notice formalizing the final procedural schedule for the proceedings.

Department Orders

  • On February 20, 2024, the DPU issued an Order establishing the scope of the proceedings, including identification of issues to be addressed or excluded from the seven-month review period for the first ESMP filings.
  • On February 23, 2024, the DPU issued an Order addressing certain motions to intervene by entities seeking to participate in the National Grid proceeding.  This Order also clarified the distinction between different participant tracks for intervention in ESMP dockets.

Upcoming and Past Events

Information Session

In addition to outreach conducted before their initial filings, the electric distribution companies conducted a virtual public information session to provide an overview of their ESMPs and respond to questions from the public on March 5, 2024, at 2:00 p.m.  Each company provided a presentation on its ESMP at that session.  The companies’ March 5, 2024 presentations are available through the following links: Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil.

Public Hearings

The DPU conducted virtual public hearings for the first ESMP filings on March 7, 2024, at 7:00 p.m., and March 12, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. 

Technical Sessions

The DPU conducted technical sessions with the parties to the proceedings on March 8, March 11, and March 13, 2024.  Members of the public were able to view the sessions through the Zoom teleconferencing platform.  Questions were reserved for the Department and parties to the proceedings.  The agenda and details for each session day can be found here.

A technical session provides an opportunity for the parties to proceedings and Department staff to come to some common understanding of complex technical issues that are more readily understood in a give-and-take discussion.  Typically, technical sessions are conducted before evidentiary hearings commence, do not rely on sworn witness statements, and are not transcribed by a court reporter.  Technical sessions are not a substitute for discovery or an evidentiary record.  As such, if parties or the Department would like to incorporate information acquired during a technical session into the evidentiary record, the information must be recaptured in the form of discovery questions or during questioning at an evidentiary hearing.

Evidentiary Hearings

The Department scheduled evidentiary hearings to commence Tuesday, April 9, 2024, on the first ESMP filings.  The final evidentiary hearing schedule is available here.  The schedule is subject to revision, as needed.

Only full party intervenors to the dockets may participate at these hearings.  Members of the public may, however, view each day of hearings through the following: 

Public Zoom link:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81023311094

Or listen in by phone by dialing 1 (646) 558-8656, then entering Webinar ID# 810 2331 1094.

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