Springfield lawmaker to file legislation to close Eversource tax-loophole

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield lawmaker Orlando Ramos announced Tuesday his plans to file legislation, closing a possible tax loophole and asking Eversource to pay their share.

For the last decade, Eversource has challenged the City of Springfield’s valuation of the utility company’s property tax bill. Ramos and other city councilor members now say Eversource is exploiting a tax loophole. If a company challenges that valuation, they only have to pay half the taxes owed while an appeal runs through the state’s tax courts.

“Eversource would not accept this sort of response from any of their customers who disagree with their energy bill,” said Representative Ramos.  “The fact that they’ve continued to withhold millions of dollars from cash-strapped cities and towns across the Commonwealth while repeatedly raising their rates on customers over the years, is an insult.  I intend to file this legislation to put a stop to it!”  

According to court records, Eversource currently owes around $44 million to the city. But the energy company argues it has a duty to challenge costs they deem excessive.

In a statement to 22News, Eversource said:

Eversource invests hundreds of millions of dollars each year into utility infrastructure owned and operated in each city and town that we serve across the Commonwealth. Our customers pay the cost of utility service which also includes the property taxes assessed on our utility property. The net book value of our property is determined through fair and objective rules set by the Department of Public Utilities. Over the past 10 years, our customers have become burdened by property tax expenses arising from the use of a valuation method that substantially increases property tax costs and has no transparency. We take our responsibility to manage costs for customers very seriously and we do not agree that our customers should carry the burden of closing municipal budget gaps through their utility rates.

As one of the largest taxpayers in the state, we always pay in accordance with Massachusetts laws and regulations, and we always work with our municipalities in good faith toward an equitable result for them and our customers whenever we challenge an excessive valuation such as this. We will remain committed to that same spirit of good faith and our responsibility to manage costs for our customers as this legislation is considered.

Eversource Spokesperson Priscilla Ress

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