Massachusetts offers consumers a choice of electricity suppliers, but ultimately all the power comes across lines governed by a common contract granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2006. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a complaint with the agency asking it to restructure these rules, reducing the amount of money that transmission line owners can charge.
"Electric transmission companies in New England have enjoyed the benefits of higher returns that were set when economic conditions were much better," Coakley said in a statement. "It is now time for the federal government to set rate[s] at an appropriate level in order to give ratepayers relief."
Coakley's proposed rates would reduce costs on consumers by as much as $206 million each year by 2015.
Cynthia Arcate of PowerOptions told The Boston Herald that the FERC deal offers transmission owners an 11 percent return, which she called "out of whack with the rest of the marketplace" during an economic downturn.