National consumer group knocks SJC pipeline decision

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A national energy group criticized the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision Wednesday blocking utilities from charging consumers for natural gas pipeline construction.

David Holt, the president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, said the ruling would “eliminate an opportunity to alleviate wild price swings,” which he said cost consumers $2.1 billion during the “Polar Vortex.”

The Houston, Texas-based group includes on its board executives of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Plaza Group, an “international petrochemical marketing company,” among others.

Consumer Energy argues the “long-term contracting authority” is a “long-established process” for building transmission infrastructure for natural gas, wind, solar or other resources, and said polling it has conducted shows “strong support in Massachusetts for natural gas electrical generation and pipeline infrastructure.”

In his ruling, retired Supreme Judicial Court Justice Robert Cordy said determination by the Department of Public Utilities violates a 1997 law deregulating the utility market.

Consumer Energy Alliance said adding natural gas capacity would support a reliable electric grid, including generation from renewable sources, which are intermittent depending on the sun and wind.

— Written by Andy Metzger

Copyright State House News Service