BOSTON, (State House News Service) – Less than half of New Englanders think their state’s governor and Legislature are doing enough to address the high cost of energy in the region, a new survey released Tuesday found.
A survey of 1,650 residents in the six New England states conducted in May for the New England Coalition for Affordable Energy found that 79 percent of New England residents and 88 percent of the 175 responding businesses are concerned about the cost of energy.
In a white paper issued Tuesday, the Coalition said residential and commercial electricity rates in New England are 50 percent to 58 percent higher than the national average. And 48 percent of respondents said their state’s governor and lawmakers are doing either “nothing” or “not much” to bring down those high energy costs.
Forty-one percent said their state leaders are doing “something” or “a lot.” Additionally, the white paper reported, three quarters of businesses rated their state’s work to make energy more affordable as either “poor” or “fair.” “At twice my competition’s electricity cost, relocation or selling my business is becoming a much more serious consideration,” one Massachusetts business told the survey-taker, according to the white paper.
The Coalition — whose members include Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts — said energy costs pose “one of the most challenging issues facing New England.”
On Beacon Hill, a committee of six lawmakers is working to reconcile House and Senate energy bills (H 4385 and S 2400) into one piece of legislation, which is expected to call for long-term contracts to procure offshore wind, hydropower and possibly other forms of renewable energy in an effort to ease the costs of energy for residents and businesses.