AGA Survey and Statistics System; AGA-CEE Natural Gas Efficiency Programs Survey: Utility expenditures for gas efficiency programs exclude data that have not been released by participating companies at the state level; U.S. Energy Information Administration; and U.S. Department of Transportation.
Statewide Elected Officials Next Election: 2022
Charlie Baker (Rep.)Governor
Karyn Polito (Rep.)Lieutenant Governor
Maura Healey (Dem.)Attorney General
Legislature Next Election: 2020Session Dates: 1/5/2016- 1/2016
Term: 2 year
President: Karen Spilka
President Pro Tempore: Marc Pacheco
Senate Majority Leader: Cynthia Stone Creem
Senate Minority Leader: Bruce Tarr
Senate Member Breakdown
House of Representatives
Term: 2 year
Speaker of the House: Robert DeLeo
Speaker Pro Tempore of the House: Patricia Haddad
Majority Leader: Ronald Mariano
Minority Leader: Bradley Jones, Jr.
House of Representatives Member Breakdown
Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Commissioners: Appointed The Secretary of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and approved by the Governor : 4 year termChairperson: Appointed by Governor: 2 year term
Angela O'Connor, Chair Appointed as Chairman by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015
Jolette A. Westbrook (R), Commissioner Appointed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2009; current term ends in 2017
Robert Hayden, Commissioner Appointed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015
As a result of the Massachusetts Green Communities Act of 2008, CHP Projects are eligible for funding as an electric energy efficiency measure by Electric Utilities. Massachusetts has three combination electric and gas utilities, National Grid, NStar and Unitil and all participate as Program Administrators of CHP funding.
Each program offers tiered incentives which are designed to "right size" CHP installations. Incentives for new construction and large retrofits are also available.
Pursuant to Chapter 298 of the Acts of 2008, Massachusetts’ Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA) submitted the state’s clean energy and climate plan in December 2010. That law required EEA to establish a statewide limit on GHG emissions between 10-25 % below 1990 levels for 2020 on the way toward a 0 percent reduction in emissions by 2050.
While natural gas utilities in Massachusetts have offered energy efficiency programs to customers since the late 1980s, in 2008, state passed Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, An Act Relative to Green Communities. The new law altered the approval process and timeline for natural gas utility energy efficiency plans and required the utilities to file the plans every three years. The law required the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), to ensure that energy efficiency programs “are delivered in a cost-effective manner capturing all available efficiency opportunities, minimizing administrative costs to the fullest extent practicable, and utilizing competitive procurement processes to the fullest extent practicable.”
The Act mandates that gas utilities procure all cost-effective energy efficiency before more expense supply resources. The Act also directed the DPU to appoint and convene an Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC). The Council is chaired by the Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
The EEAC’s primary mandate is achieving the goals outlined in the Green Communities Act and developing long-term vision, including recommendations concerning studies and research to achieve the goals of acquiring all cost-effective efficiency and maximizing economic and environmental benefits that can be realized through increased energy efficiency.
The Original Massachusetts 3 year Plans (2010-2012) were divided into separate electric and gas plans. These plans were approved by the DPU in Docket Nos. 09-121 through 09-128. The current Plan (2013-2015) has integrated the State’s natural gas and electric goals into a single plan. This plan was approved in DPU Docket Nos. 12-100 through D.P.U. 12-111. Natural Gas savings targets were initially 0.63% in 2010 and will be ramping up to 1.14% by 2015.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has explored various energy policies and strategies to meet the Commonwealth’s key economic, social, and environmental goals. Since, consumers and businesses want greater choice of heating and processing fuels, DOER is examining the benefits, costs and challenges for policies, strategies and the appropriate regulatory and ratemaking models regarding natural gas expansion at the gas distribution company level within Massachusetts. In order to assist DOER to investigate these 5 RFR for Gas Expansion Study matters, DOER is issuing this Request for Response (“RFR”) to solicit and hire a consultant(s) to:
Perform energy, economic and environmental analyses; Schedule and facilitate stakeholder meetings in order to gather ideas, put forth proposals, and solicit feedback, regarding gas expansion; Write a final report that outlines approaches (regulatory and market based options) for state government and gas utilities to proceed with gas expansion; Discuss regulatory models including appropriate ratemaking mechanisms to advance gas expansion and propose an appropriate regulatory model for Massachusetts that may be used to advance gas expansion.
Governor Deval Patrick signed H. 4164 into law on June 26, 2014. This bill features an expansion component which permits the DPU to authorize gas utilities to design and offer programs to customers which will increase the availability, affordability and feasibility of natural gas service for new customers.
Several of the state’s utilities utilize a Targeted Infrastructure Reinvestment Factor (TIRF) for cost recovery of infrastructure replacement: Columbia Gas of Massachusetts received approval for its TIRF in 2009. The TIRF allows for the recovery of the revenue requirement associated with bare steal capital additions for the previous calendar year.
National Grid companies Boston Gas, Essex Gas and Colonial Gas received approval for a TIRF as part of a 2010 general rate case. The TIRFs provide for the recovery of costs associated with the accelerated replacement of gas mains and the companies are allowed to surcharge customers up to 1% of total revenue.
New England Gas (Now Liberty Utilities) received authorization to implement a TIRF to provide recovery of incremental expenditures associated with reinforcing the system and meeting public safety goals.
On February 28, 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities issued an order in Columbia Gas of Massachusetts’ (Columbia) rate case (DPU 13-75) which allowed Columbia to increase the annual cap on amounts collected under the TIRF mechanism from 1% to 3.75% of distribution revenues.
Governor Deval Patrick signed H. 4164 into law on June 26, 2014. The bill provides for the following: Civil penalties for violations of federal pipeline safety regulations; Uniform natural gas leak classification for all gas companies; Grade 1 leaks defined as representing an existing or probably hazard to persons or property and requiring immediate action; Grade 2 leaks defined as non-hazardous to persons or property at time of detecting but justifies scheduled repair based on future hazard; Requires company to replace the main within 1 year from date of leak classification; Grad 3 leaks defined as non-hazardous to persons or property and can be reasonably expected to remain non-hazardous; Requires utilities to reevaluate during scheduled surveys or within 12 months until the main is replaced; Prioritization of pipeline repairs in school zones; Cost recovery for eligible infrastructure replacement programs;
Eligible plans shall include, but not be limited to, the following: Eligible infrastructure replacement of mains, services and meter sets composed of non-cathodically protected steel, cast iron and wrought iron prioritized to implement the federal DIMP plan annually submitted to the department; Anticipated timeline for the completion of each project—timelines should include a target end date of either not more than 20 years or a reasonable target end date considering the allowable recovery cap established; Estimated cost of each project; Rate change requests; Customer costs/benefits under the plan; An expansion component which permits the DPU to authorize gas utilities to design and offer programs to customers which will increase the availability, affordability and feasibility of natural gas service for new customers; A direction for the DPU to issue a report addressing the prevalence of natural gas leaks in the natural gas system including estimates for the number of Grade 1, 2 and 3 leaks and estimates for lost and unaccounted for gas and methane emissions.
Pursuant to H. 4164 (now G.L. c. 164, § 145), National Grid, Unitil, NSTAR Gas, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Liberty Utilities and Berkshire Gas all filed Gas System Enhancement Program Plans (GSEP) for 2015 on October 31, 2014. The plans were approved on April 30, 2015.
These plans will allow for the removal of all cast iron and bare steel mains to be eliminated in 20 years for National Grid, Unitil, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Liberty Utilities and Berkshire Gas and 25 years for NSTAR Gas.
National Grid owns 3 stations in the state which are managed by Clean Energy. Under the terms of a 2010 management agreement, Clean Energy operates and maintains the National Grid stations, sells CNG to third parties, upgrades the onsite equipment to increase vehicle fueling capacity for the growth of the National Grid CNG truck fleet, and works with National Grid to continue the growth of the CNG vehicle market.
In 2008, the DPU ordered all electric and gas utilities to begin phasing in full revenue decoupling mechanisms. The Decoupling Order works hand-in-hand with the Green Communities Act to create a new paradigm for energy efficiency investment. Under the Act, signed by Governor Patrick on July 2, 2008, electric and natural gas utilities are charged with serving their customers’ energy needs by investing in all energy efficiency and demand resources that are cost-effective or cheaper than supply.
Since the 2008 order, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Liberty Utilities, Fitchburg Gas & Electric and National Grid have implemented full decoupling mechanisms.
The gas decoupling mechanisms are all similar. Each compares on a semi-annual basis (for peak and non-peak gas seasons) actual to authorized non-gas revenues per customer for all classes and calculates adjustments for any difference, with peak season adjustments applying in the following peak season and similarly for non-peak adjustments. The cap on any one adjustment is 3%, with amounts over deferred for later recovery.
On October 30, 2015, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an order in NSTAR Gas’ base rate proceeding. The DPU's order also largely adopted the company's proposed revenue decoupling mechanism. The approval of this mechanism is in accordance with a 2008 DPU directive requiring all electric and gas utilities to implement fully-decoupled rates on a going-forward basis as part of each company's subsequent base rate proceeding.