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Massachusetts

Legislative activities

The Massachusetts state legislature has dealt with legislation that specifically deals with smart grid when they passed the “Green Communities Act” in 2008, which includes demand response, smart metering, and smart grid provisions. (SB 2768) As part of the Green Communities Act the Massachusetts state legislature also expanded the regulatory rulings of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities on net metering in 2008. The legislature had also dealt with solar access provisions to creating voluntary solar easements. [1, 2, 3]


Regulatory activities

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) had approved demand side management approved through the New England ISO (NEPOOL) by 2002. It had also combined demand side management with distributed generation in 1999 when they approved rates for interruptible loads that had backup generation, or load that could shift on a seasonal basis. The distributed generation eventually grew to include net metering by 2009. By 2006 the DPU had approved Time of Use for businesses and residential consumers. [4, 5]

“In June 2007, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) opened a proceeding to investigate rate structures and revenue-recovery mechanisms that will facilitate “efficient deployment” of demand resources—including demand response. In July 2008, the DPU issued an Order announcing its decision to decouple utility rates. In the Order, the DPU discussed how decoupled rates will facilitate demand response, among other demand-side strategies:

“[Decoupled rates] will also provide distribution companies with better financial incentives to pursue a cleaner, more efficient energy future consistent with the recently enacted legislation…An Act Relative To Green Communities (‘Green Communities Act’). Today’s Order paves the way for the aggressive expansion of demand resources (i.e., energy efficiency, demand response, combined heat and power, and renewable generation) in Massachusetts in a manner that fully maintains and enhances fundamental and long-standing Department precedent on ratemaking principles and consumer protections for all consumers of electricity and natural gas in the Commonwealth.”

The DPU began its investigation of decoupling, in fact, with the specific intention of encouraging the use of demand-side resources:

“We initiated this proceeding to determine what, if any, changes are necessary to current ratemaking practices in order to reduce the financial disincentives that electric and gas companies face regarding the deployment of demand resources in their service territories.”

According to the July 2008 Order, utilities are to have “operational decoupling plans” by the end of 2012.” [1]

Demand side management includes load response programs where terms are individually contracted and interruptible load that charges a reduced rate to customers for allowing specific electrical equipment to be interrupted based on individual contracts.

Distributed generators include backup generation and qualifying net metering installations.

Time of Use rates break the cost for electricity into periods with on peak demand and energy priced on-peak or off-peak.


Utilities and Rate Schedules

Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company
- Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company Rates

National Grid Massachusetts
- National Grid Residential Rates
- National Grid Business Rates

NSTAR
- NSTAR Residential Rates
- NSTAR Business Rates

Western Massachusetts Electric Company
- Western Massachusetts Electric Company Residential Rates
- Western Massachusetts Electric Company Business Rates

See the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) for information on consumer-owned Cooperatives: http://www.nreca.org/members/MemberDirectory/Pages/default.aspx


State-Level Incentives

Massachusetts offers a corporate exemption and deduction on excise tax for solar or wind powered systems, as well as alternative energy and energy conservation patent exemptions at the corporate and personal level. The state has initiated a Sustainable Energy Economic Development (SEED) Initiative, including a community solar lending program. There are rebates for the residential energy efficient rebate program, an income tax credit for renewable energy and sales tax deduction, and SRECs.

More information can be found in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE): http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm?re=1&ee=1&spv=0&st=0&srp=1&state=MA


Additional Resources

State Energy Office:
- Energy and Environmental Affairs Department of Energy Resources

General Laws of Massachusetts

Docket Search:
http://db.state.ma.us/dpu/qorders/frmDocketFind.asp

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE): http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm?re=1&ee=1&spv=0&st=0&srp=1&state=MA


References

[1] Demand Response and Smart Metering Policy Actions Since the Energy Policy Act of 2005: A Summary for State Officials, Prepared by the U.S. Demand Response Coordinating Committee for The National Council on Electricity Policy, Fall 2008. URL: http://www.oe.energy.gov/DocumentsandMedia/NCEP_Demand_Response_1208.pdf
[2] Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, Massachusetts – Net metering, 08/31/2009. URL: http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=MA01R&re=1&ee=1
[3] Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, Massachusetts Solar Access Laws, 02/02/2010. URL: http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=MA02R&re=1&ee=1
[4] Unitil, Unitil Electric Service Tariff. URL: http://services.unitil.com/mass/electric_tariff.asp
[5] NSTAR, Schedule of Rates. URL: http://www.nstaronline.com/ss3/residential/rates_tariffs/rates/schedule.asp