Quinn Charges Major Utilities With Discriminatory Rate Hikes

Atty. Gen. Robert H. Quinn filed a complaint Wednesday alleging that ten private electric utilities have discriminated against consumers in their policy of passing increased fuel costs on to the user.

The complaint filed with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) states that the fuel clause, which allows utilities to bill any increase in fuel costs directly to the user without a rate hearing, has in some instances resulted in "individual consumers paying more than their fair share of the utilities' fuel expenses."

Among the companies mentioned was Cambridge Electric, from which Harvard buys nearly all its electricity and steam.

Also listed in the complaint was Massachusetts Electric Company, a subsidiary of New England Electric Systems, a holding company in which Harvard has $3.85 million worth of stock.

Quinn's complaint also names Western Massachusetts Electric, which is controlled by Northeast Utilities. Harvard owns $79,522 worth of Northeast Utilities stock.


The complaint criticizes the present lack of uniformity of fuel clauses across the state, and contends that "it is possible for some utilities to charge in excess of their allowed billable fuel costs."

Quinn asked the DPU to "restructure the fuel clause" so that it is "fair and equitable to all consumers."

Robert L. Meade, chairman of the DPU, said Wednesday that he will soon hold a public hearing on the "reasonableness of the fuel adjustment clause."

John J. Malloy, vice-president of New Cambridge Electric, said yesterday, "we welcome the attorney general's investigation." He said an investigation will show that the company's rate structure is equitable.

Stephen S. J. Hall, vice president for

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