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Massachusetts Attorney General Seeks Process For Discovery, Potential For Evidentiary Hearings, In DPU Review Of Boston Municipal Aggregation Plan

Cites Potential Harm To Default Service Customers From Boston Aggregation

City Had Sought Approval By End Of August, For January 2020 Start Date


August 21, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • ring@energychoicematters.com

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The Massachusetts Attorney General (AGO) has requested that the Massachusetts DPU set a procedural schedule in the DPU's consideration of the City of Boston's electricity opt-out municipal aggregation plan that would allow for discovery and the ability to request evidentiary hearings

Evidentiary hearings are not typical in DPU reviews of municipal aggregation plans, though an evidentiary process (allowing discovery and briefs but not necessarily evidentiary hearings with testimony) has been used occasionally, typically with larger aggregations with unique characteristics (such as the Cape Light Compact). For all aggregation plans, DPU public hearings are held to receive public comment, but without a discovery requests from intervenors and, presumably, without sworn testimony (the DPU does issue its own information requests as needed during the reviews).

As previously reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, the City had asked, in its application filed in late June, that its plan be approved by August 31, 2019 to allow for the City to reduce uncertainty (and to reduce uncertainty in upcoming basic service procurements) and to solicit the necessary power in October 2019 for a January 2020 program launch

"The AGO is committed to working with the City, the Department, and Eversource to ensure that the transition of Boston’s residents to the Program is coordinated in a way that mitigates any potential harm to customers that remain on basic service and that the City employs a comprehensive education and information plan. Therefore, the AGO respectfully requests a procedural schedule with dates for discovery and the ability to request evidentiary hearings and/or the submission of briefs," the AGO said in its request filed with the DPU

"The AGO agrees that, given the City’s large pool of eligible municipal aggregation customers, uncertainty surrounding the timing of the Program launch could impact basic service procurements and, ultimately, basic service rates for non-Program participants. Indeed, Eversource has already indicated that the uncertainty of the start of the Program appears to have resulted in a 'risk-premium' in the bids it received for its Basic Service procurements. See Petition, Transmittal Letter citing D.P.U. 19-BSF-C2, Transmittal Letter (May 20, 2019). Similarly, a robust education and information plan is necessary to provide each potential customer with the ability to make an informed decision about whether to participate in the City’s Program and should be tailored to reflect Boston’s size and diverse population. See Petition, Att. H, Education and Information Plan," the AGO said

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