Massachusetts PBF/USF History, Legislation, Implementation
Legislation Cite and Date
Chapter 164, Acts of 1997 (12/97)
"Electricity service is essential to the health and well-being of all residents of the Commonwealth," and "The restructuring of the existing electricity systems should not undermine the policy of the Commonwealth that electricity bills for low-income residents should remain as affordable as possible."
Low-Income Rate Assistance
Restructuring legislation required electric and combination investor-owned utilities to continue offering utility rate discounts ranging from 11 to 43 percent of low-income households’ bills. All gas and electric companies were instructed to file revised tariffs; by the end of 2010 all companies had complied, proposing discounts in the 25 percent range. On November 6, 2008, the DPU ordered electric companies to increase the discount rate eligibility level to that of the state’s LIHEAP program, which had been raised to 60 percent of state median income (SMI) from 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines as of November 1.
The restructuring law established a conservation fund, through a charge on every electric customer; a portion of this goes to low-income electric efficiency programs; although not part of restructuring legislation, a conservation charge on natural gas customers funds gas low-income energy efficiency programs.
Annual Funding (2011)
Rate Assistance: $113.5 million (252,737 electric households and 142,663 gas households)
Arrearage Forgivness: $11.9 million for 19,568 electric households; $4.9 million for 7,645 gas households
Conservation: $35 million for 23,000 electric and gas households
Rate Assistance: Included in distribution company rates which are adjusted periodically in rate cases, all customer classes contribute. Conservation: 0.25 mills per kWh charge, all electric customers contribute.
Utilities, with implementation by subgrantees who administer LIHEAP and weatherization.
Rate Assistance: $36 million yearly
Conservation: $3 million yearly