SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman, chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Sustainability and Environment, is calling on the state department of public utilities to do a cost benefit analysis of Eversource’s proposed secondary gas pipeline through Springfield.
According to the news release, the pipeline is reported to potentially cost over $40 million, as well as their larger proposal which includes hundred of millions in statewide proposals. Councilor Lederman is calling on the DPU as well to refuse any request by Eversource to further increase the cost by allowing their shareholders to profit from projects that are necessary for public safety.
“Ratepayers in the City of Springfield deserve to know what the impact to their bills will be from this proposed pipeline and whether it is actually necessary,” said Councilor Lederman, “Furthermore, ratepayers should not pay a premium to Eversource investors for projects they claim are safety related. Safety projects should be required, not incentivized, and recouped at cost, not at a profit. We deserve to know who stands to profit from this proposal at our expense and by how much.”
“Evidence has not been presented that indicates the existing gas pipeline shows signs of failing nor has it been indicated that there is a shortage or technical challenge in delivering gas to existing or new customers,” said Councilor Lederman, “Based on what has been presented thus far I have not seen a strong argument for a multi-million dollar investment in building onto a system that is set to be phased out in coming decades.”
In his letter to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Commission Chair, Lederman said independent scrutiny is needed regarding a secondary gas pipeline as proposed by Eversource, especially in the context of statewide plans to transition away from natural gas and towards renewable forms of energy.
“The potential exists for the lowest-income ratepayers, who may be less financially positioned to transition away from natural gas, to be saddled with the long-term financial burden associated with this proposed project,” said Councilor Lederman.
Councilor Lederman also called on the DPU to host hearings through a variety of platforms to allow all residents and stakeholders to talk to the DPU and for any in-person meetings related to the proposal in Springfield.