…as a friend of mine needed a favor, but the Sentinel and Enterprise was there as was my state rep Steve DiNatale
“Unitil has consistently had the highest electric and gas rates in the state and nation over the years,” state Rep. Stephen DiNatale said during the nighttime public hearing at the Memorial Middle School auditorium. “They have a stranglehold on their customers. They are understaffed and they have lacked in making the necessary upgrades to their infrastructure over the years. Rates should be lowered, not raised. They have become an obstacle to this region’s economic growth.”
As a person who has gone door to door to business though Fitchburg over the last three months I can tell you that is true in spades.
Even more interesting was what Unitil actually said they were going to do to make the rate hike easier for users:
“The company proposes to offset the rate impact of its proposed electric distribution revenue increase by a reduction in its current transition charge. Under the company’s proposal the transition charge recovery would be deferred and collected from its customers at a later date with interest emphasis mine.
Run those sentences through your head for a second. The charges are deferred, meaning you will pay them later with interest. This sounds like one of those ambush mortgages, starts with a low rate than hits you with the full charge and interest.
Many business’ in Fitchburg are just hanging on and city counselor Joel Kaddy put it well:
“In this economy, at the end of the week, I worry about paying my employees, and not making a profit,” Kaddy said. “I don’t know if I can take any more increases, and if I can’t there will be 17 people out of work. … This system just seems extremely unfair. How did it get to the point where we don’t have a choice, but to pay what they say? Something doesn’t add up, and Unitil should be ashamed of themselves. They are really going to hurt this community.”
Considering all that is going on I wouldn’t be surprised if this is denied. The state government is not popular and this is an easy “gimme” for the company. On the other hand the towns impacted were not strong supporters of the administration.
One thing is sure, left or right, red or blue the city is united against these increases and the anger they will produce if passed will be totally bi-partisan.