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WMECo Costumers Could See Electric Bills Rise

Press release from Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Customers of Western Massachusetts Electric Co. are expected to see electric delivery rates decline early in 2012, partially offsetting proposed increases in supply rates for customers who choose to purchase energy supply through WMECo.

There are two main portions of electric bills; delivery and supply. If approved by the Department of Public Utilities, the delivery portion of electric bills should decrease about 3 percent because of proposed declines in transition and transmission charges and the new revenue decoupling mechanism. Overall, bills are expected to increase about 5 percent because of increases in the energy supply rates.

Under Massachusetts law, WMECo is required to procure energy supply, known as basic service, for customers who do not purchase service through a competitive supplier. Basic service is bid twice a year for residential and small commercial and industrial (C&I) customers and four times a year for medium and large commercial customers.

"The most recent competitive bidding process for electric supply is showing at least a temporary increase in the price of electricity after a prolonged period of decline in prices," said Peter Clarke, president and chief operating officer of WMECo. "The increase in price is likely a reflection of seasonality and we encourage customers to shop for a competitive supply price."

From Jan. 1 to June 30, residential customers on basic service will see a supply rate of 7.741 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to 6.998 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the previous six-month period.

Small C&I customers will see a supply rate of 8.264 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to 7.498 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the previous six-month period. Both residential and small C&I customers' basic service supply rates change twice a year (in January and July) and remain in effect for six months.

WMECo, a Northeast Utilities company (NYSE:NU), serves approximately 210,000 customers in 59 communities throughout Western Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.wmeco.com.

Aladco Installs New 'Green' Washing Machine

Andy McKeever

Aladco contracted local companies to retrofit the 19th-century building to more energy-efficient technology.

ADAMS, Mass. — Aladco is the latest business to go green.

The linen company installed a new $700,000 washer expected to reduce water usage by 84 percent. The company tore out the equpment it had been using for 50 years and retrofitted its  19th-century Commercial Street building for the modern technology.

"It's really cool to see an old building get a third or fourth life," Kevin Ellingwood, the company's public relations spokesman, said. "This has been in the works for a year or so."

The Pulse-Flow washing system replaces four washing machines that held 400 pounds of laundry each with a conveyor belt system. Every three minutes, workers load 50-pound batches onto the corkscrewlike belt. The batches then go through the various steps of a wash.

"It took them a little while to get efficient using the machine. Workers used to just load it in and go get a coffee or something," Ellingwood said. "It will result in significant savings."

Previously Aladco used 10 washing machines that used 2.5 gallons of water per pound of laundry, using 1.5 million gallons of water per month. The new system uses .4 gallons of water per pound – reducing the monthly usage to 250,000 gallons. Additionally, the less water used, the less gas and electricity are required to heat it.

Berkshire Gas contributed a $50,000 rebate to Aladco for the project.

"The projected savings for this project of over 67,000 therms and nearly 1.7 million therms over the life of the equipment, are impressive, to say the least. To put this into perspective, the annual savings from this one project equates to the amount of natural gas needed to heat approximately 70 homes per year," Michael Sommer, manager of energy services at Berkshire Gas, said in a press release.

According to Ellingwood, Aladco is the first hospitality linen rental facility in the nation to make the change.

Additionally, Aladco recently introduced three new eco-friendly products: a lint–free microfiber wiping towel, microfiber mop system and the Environap, an alternative to disposable napkins for the same cost.

The company provides table and kitchen linens, bed linens, uniforms, entrance mats and dust control to restaurants, hotels, motels, hospital, medical service providers and schools and colleges.

More information on Aladco here.

Tags: Adams, Aladco, Green, Energy      

Gas Prices Up 50 Cents Over Last Year

AAA Southern New England

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — One week after showing no movement, gasoline prices in Massachusetts are back up this week, the ninth week out of the last 10 in which prices have risen, according to AAA Southern New England.

AAA's Feb. 7 survey of prices in Massachusetts found self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $3.119 per gallon, one cent higher than last week. The current price is a penny below the national average for self-serve unleaded of $3.12. A year ago at this time, the Massachusetts average price was $2.65.

The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 26 cents, from a low of $2.99 to a high of $3.25. AAA advises motorists to shop around for the best prices in their area, and to make sure they and their passengers buckle up — every time.

Find the most up-to-date local gas prices with the AAA Fuel Finder by logging onto AAA.com and clicking on Gas Saving Tips & Tools.

Today's Local Gas Prices
Self Serve 
Grade Full Serve
$3.11($2.999-$3.259) Regular Unleaded $3.22 ($3.169-$3.269)
$3.22 ($3.109-$3.399)     Midgrade Unleaded $3.33 ($3.299-$3.369)
$3.33 ($3.209-$3.499)     Premium Unleaded $3.43 ($3.399-$3.469)
$3.55 ($3.459-$3.699)   Diesel    $3.61 ($3.589-$3.659)
AAA Fuel Saving Tip of the Week

Plan ahead. When running errands, try to combine multiple tasks into one trip. Several short trips starting with a cold engine each time can use twice as much gas as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Also, plan the route in advance to drive the fewest miles.

Tags: gas prices      

WMECo Commercial Customers See Rate Hike

Staff Reports

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Western Massachusetts Electric Company's medium and large commercial and industrial customers who choose Basic Service will see increased electric supply prices beginning in October as a result of the latest round of competitive bidding. Medium and large C&I customers will see a fixed rate of 8.051 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, an increase of just under a penny per kWh over the current fixed rate of 7.052 cents. 

The energy supply was solicited in the open energy marketplace for those customers who have not chosen to purchase their energy supply from a competitive supplier.  The increase in supply price reflects the projected seasonal price of energy at the time of bidding in July.

"For medium and large business customers who choose Basic Service, our role is to competitively procure the energy supply in the marketplace," said Peter Clarke, president and chief operating officer of WMECo. "We encourage business customers to seek out suppliers who may be able to offer better supply rates directly."

WMECo purchases electricity for its Basic Service customers through an open competitive bid process. Basic Service is for customers who have not chosen to purchase their electricity in the open marketplace. The competitive bid process for medium and large C&I customers occurs every three months. For residential and small business customers, the bidding is conducted every six months.

WMECo, part of the Northeast Utilities System (NYSE:NU), serves approximately 200,000 customers in 59 communities throughout Western Massachusetts. For more information: www.wmeco.com.

Tags: WMECo, electricity      

WMECo Asking For 8% Rate Increase

Staff Reports

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Western Massachusetts Electric Co. filed an application on Friday with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities requesting an increase in electric distribution rates which would become effective Feb. 1, 2011. 

If approved as filed, residential customers using 600 kilwatt-hours a month would see an increase in their monthly bill of approximately $7.50, or about 8 percent. On average, business customers would see bill increases ranging from 1 percent to 6 percent, depending on load and usage. 

The WMECo request seeks a $28 million adjustment to revenues and other changes that will enable the company to continue making needed investments in the electric system to preserve the high levels of reliability customers expect and deserve, according to a company statement.

"We are very cognizant of the effect of increasing electric rates on our customers and have worked hard to moderate the amount we are seeking. There is never a good time to ask for a rate increase, but with this filing we feel we have achieved a reasonable balance between the investments we need to make in our system and the effect on customer bills," said Peter J. Clarke, WMECo president and chief operating officer.

"Our customers have increasing expectations for safe, reliable delivery of electricity. We have reached the point where we can no longer satisfy those expectations in a climate of declining sales and increasing demands on the delivery system, unless we increase our investment in our infrastructure," Clarke continued.

WMECo actually reduced its rates beginning July 1 in response to lower fuel prices. While the overall cost went down, delivery charges increased. The residential rate was set at 7.647 cents per kWh.

Tags: WMECo      
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