from Blue Mass Group
Charlie Baker didn’t run for governor on a platform of consumer protection or climate action. But now that he thinks climate change is real and man-made, he talks a lot about his administration’s work on clean energy and climate change, even as his messaging to his base, and his reelection campaign, evoke themes of “hold the line on taxes” and small government.
There’s nothing wrong with the Governor’s beliefs on climate change evolving and he’s not unique in disliking taxation (as much as we desperately need more revenue). And yes, it’s also really important to have bipartisan action on climate change. As I see it, the problem is pretty simple: beneath a rhetoric of climate action and balanced “combo platter” of energy solutions, the Governor has approved policies that are bad for ratepayers, bad for the environment and bad for democracy.
A number of the Governor’s appointees are so bad they might as well be lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry, and overall, the Governor’s energy strategy is bad for consumers, prioritizes investor-owned utilities whose executives contribute to his campaign, and is dishonest, hiding “little known taxes” on energy bills and fees.
What has Charlie Baker’s administration done that is so awful? His administration has approved automatic rate increases, a gratuitously high return on equity for Eversource energy (more on this below), unprecedented fees on solar, cuts to compensation for renters and low-income renewable energy customers, a tax on electric bills to fund fracked gas pipeline expansion (struck down by the MA SJC) and the Governor has failed to maintain the few campaign pledges related to the environment around funding of environmental programs and meaningfully addressing gas leaks.