On Saturday, December 10, crowds of wind turbine bearing climate activists marched on the sidewalks around Dewey Square. More than 85 enthusiastic souls braved the cold to encourage newly elected Governor Maura Healey to give the Department of Public Utilities a boost by naming Commissioners who would aggressively push the state’s utilities. There is so much the DPU could do and so little they did do over the last four years.
Organized by the Climate Courage Working Group of 350 Mass, the event was co-sponsored by Mothers Out Front, the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Fix the Grid, Boston DSA, Sunrise Cambridge, U.U. Mass Action, and Mass Climate Action. These groups rallied around the idea that the DPU’s past decisions favoring ga$ are now coming home to roost. The impact of 44% and even 50% increases in electric bills and heating costs this winter could have been mitigated if DPU had pushed utilities to encourage heat pumps, solar panels, and community aggregation plans. It is time to leave expensive fossil fuels and embrace solar, wind, and battery power.

Why March Now? The D.P.U. is managed by a three-person body that oversees the regulated utilities in Massachusetts. Commissioners are appointed by the governor. When Governor Baker steps down in January, Maura Healey will appoint two of the three commissioners.

Event Coordinator Monte Pearson spoke for all the marchers when he said, “Governor Healey, give us a Department of Public Utilities that will work for people, not for fossil fuel profits.” You can see from the enclosed pictures that the marchers, with signs, wind turbines, banners and costumes were happy to share their enthusiasm with the public and fellow marchers.

Four years ago, Governor Baker’s DPU should have pushed Eversource and National Grid to diversify our heating and electric systems. It is past time we get to these essential changes: 

(1) Mass Save installs electric heat pumps in homes and not gas heating units, 

(2) The utilities buy heat pumps at wholesale prices and re-sell to homeowners and landlords, 

(3) The utilities provide incentives for installation of solar panels on homes and businesses, and

(4)  The DPU rapidly process town and city applications to negotiate bulk electricity contracts that include more renewable energy and provide stable prices – Community Aggregation.

If we make thousands of panels, pumps and aggregation contracts each year, the continuing low prices for solar and wind power will modifying the impact of natural ga$ costs for thousands of residents AND send fewer tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

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