Fiorentini Slams Electric Rates, Calls Deregulation ‘Nonsense’

As homeowners struggle to pay unprecedented increases in electricity costs, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini called utility deregulation “nonsense.”

Speaking on WHAV’s Open Mike Show Monday night, Fiorentini said rate increases are angering residents.

“They raised the rates by an astounding 37 percent and I’ve heard from many, many constituents who are just outraged by this, and should be.”

He said he has always opposed deregulation of utilities and history has proven him correct.

“Almost all the politicians told us—I remember (former attorney general) Scott Harshbarger, whom I supported, and a number of other politicians in both parties—said deregulation would lead to lower electric rates,” Fiorentini said.

The mayor said there were voices of opposition, but they were ignored by the legislature.

“(Consumer protection advocate) Ralph Nader said the only thing this is going to lead to is an unregulated monopoly, not for lower electric rates. Today, we’ve seen the fruit of that deregulation nonsense.”

Referring to an earlier WHAV story, reporting a $4 million fine imposed on a company called Just Energy, the mayor said it is possible for people to scour the Internet for lower rates.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to go on the Internet, do a lot of research, tryu to figure out on their own what’s a good energy company and what’s a scam. This is what you have government regulators for.”

Just Energy Group Inc. and its affiliates agreed to pay $4 million in January to settle allegations of deceptive marketing and sales that promised savings but charged significantly higher rates, entered consumers into agreements without their consent and charged costly termination fees, according to then-Attorney General Martha Coakley.

A WHAV investigation also placed a spotlight on the revolving door between state regulators and the regulated utilities. Former Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Eugene J. Sullivan Jr. is listed as a member of The Coalition to Lower Energy Costs Inc., a new group promoting “new pipeline capacity, including one new pipeline from western Massachusetts to Dracut,” according to the group’s website. As DPU commissioner, Sullivan voted to approve Boston Gas Co.’s $80.5 million purchase of Essex County Gas Co., then based in Amesbury, in 1998.

Sullivan is not the only former DPU commissioner involved in the group supporting fracked gas. Barbara Kates-Garnick, who recently held a job as undersecretary of energy in Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, is a senior advisor, according to the group’s website. Kates-Garnick also worked as vice president of government affairs for Boston Gas after the Essex County Gas Co. merger.

9 thoughts on “Fiorentini Slams Electric Rates, Calls Deregulation ‘Nonsense’

  1. Our government is a brothel and our representatives have sold us to the highest bidder. I will *never* vote for any of them again. These animals have destroyed our society for their bit of silver and are worse than Judas. I will not ever not under any condition vote for anyone who did not strongly oppose deregulation. If you want my vote:
    1) You should have opposed deregulation with a passion.
    2) You must demand repeal of it.
    3) You must demand the criminals who did it be put away.

  2. I’m more interested in the obscene charges for natural gas. I used $40.00 of nat. gas in December and was charged over $200.00 because of transmission and delivery charges. Add that to the big increase in electric rates and and the increase in real estate taxes this year. It doesn’t make sense to remain in this city/region any longer. I really like New England but I’d rather be a visitor than a resident in the future.

    • Yet, most people still don’t want a natural gas turbine electricity generation plant or a gas pipeline in their backyard. They use more and more energy but thinks it comes from clouds or rain or something. The flat screen TV’s, IPADS, XBOXES, ECT. The EPA is shutting down 400 coal fired elctric plants. Wait until the next couple years when the electric rates go even higher. Be careful who you vote for !

      • ABSOLUTELY AMEN TO THAT ONE!!!!! DO NOT VOTE FOR THE PARTY, VOTE FOR THE PERSON. We need to know what candidates stand for and we also need to know if he/she has the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what they say they believe in. And, where in heck do people think their energy comes from if not from energy plants. I cringe every time I get a natural gas or electric bill because they increase just about every month.

      • I know what I will vote for or rather against. No more free market. No more Milton Friedman scams. No more Ayn Rand scams. I am done with the BS they feed us. I never wanted it and always opposed it but now I will oppose it even more to a point of: if they do not actively and passionately oppose deregulation and demand reregulation I will never vote for them. All of them should be locked up forever for scamming and treason as well as attempeted destruction of the commonwealth.

  3. In Washington’ they call this the “Iron Triangle”, where legislators, aides, Ect., go to work for the very companies they were charged with regulating. Do we know the reasons given for the increases ? I know that in most cases people fight power plants, just like the one they were proposing in Methuen. If we keep opposing new power generators, as we use more power than ever, we will always be stuck with rising prices. See: food waste to energy plant proposed for Haverhill.

    Remarking the lobbyist, It’s all incestuous within Govt. See: probation scandal. That’s why it doesn’t and never will work well.