Suzy Shure: When DPU lets us down, where do we go for help?

Last modified: Saturday, September 19, 2015

To the editor:

The Gazette has published many articles about decisions made by the state Department of Public Utilities, including most recently a story about Rep. Stephen Kulik’s efforts to reform the department’s intervenor process.

Decisions by the DPU regarding the proposed pipeline in western Massachusetts exclude residents effected by the project, as well as their elected representatives, from participating in the process.

Could someone please help me understand why the DPU has such extensive power?

What laws govern the operation of the DPU? Why do the residents of Massachusetts and their elected representatives have so little access to the process by which “intervenor status” on issues is decided?

I’ve read the mission statement at the DPU website. The Department is responsible for oversight of investor-owned electric power, natural gas, and water utilities in the Commonwealth; developing alternatives to traditional regulation; monitoring service quality; regulating safety in the transportation and gas pipeline areas; and for the siting of energy facilities.

The mission of the department is to ensure that utility consumers are provided with the most reliable service at the lowest possible cost; to protect the public safety from transportation and gas pipeline related accidents; to oversee the energy facilities siting process; and to ensure that residential ratepayers’ rights are protected.

What options do the residents of Massachusetts have when the DPU is not fulfilling this mission?

Suzy Shure



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