Massachusetts power companies may pay $106 million refund

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BOSTON – Electric customers in New England may be in line for refunds if a federal agency approves a ruling announced Friday by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Bay State power customers stand to divvy up about $106 million.

Ratepayers throughout New England may get refunds totaling $234 million, according to a statement from Healey.

The refunds, if approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, would stem from a ruling by U.S. Administrative Law Judge Steve L. Sterner to reduce the returns that electricity transmission companies could earn on their investments in equipment over the past two years, Healey said. She said Sterner agreed with her contention that “the profits electric transmission companies and their investors are earning at the expense of ratepayers is too high.”

“If FERC agrees, New England ratepayers will be refunded hundreds of millions of dollars and will save millions more going forward,” Healey said, referring to the commission. The agency has favored cutting the allowed rate of return before, in an October 2014 decision that resulted in a $78 million refund to ratepayers in the region, Healey said.

The state attorney general’s office began the rate-of-return case in 2011.