At the instigation of the Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has ordered that the gas companies must plan to meet the state’s 2050 net zero goal.
The utilities have to hire a consultant to review their plans for meeting state carbon goals. For example, the consultant will decide if the utility plans are feasible within existing law and regulations. After the consultant offers their own ideas and produces a comprehensive report of their findings, the companies must submit revised proposals for achieving 2050 climate goals by March 2022.
Ultimately the consultant must produce a single, comprehensive report of their findings for all companies. By March 2022, the companies are required to submit new proposals with “plans for helping the Commonwealth achieve its 2050 climate goals, supported by the Report,” for the DPU to review.
While HEET supports the continuation of the utilities in a safer, greener form, we worry that there is not enough stakeholder input and having just one consultant may limit the breadth of solutions that are considered.
“I think they were focused on ensuring the process is uniform and fair between gas companies,” said Zeyneb Magavi, co-executive director of HEET. “What I hope they are not missing is the idea generation that they could get from an open process.”
In a statement to E&E News, Massachusetts Attorney General Healey said her office was “grateful to the DPU for taking this necessary next step.” “This investigation is nation-leading and will allow Massachusetts to plan ahead and make the policy and structural changes in the natural gas industry we need to ensure a clean energy future that is safe, reliable, and fair for all of our customers,” she said.