Mass. Senate approves hidden electric fee refunds

The Massachusetts House rejected a similar proposal last month

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities got rid of retroactive electric fees in April after hearing from angry customers. Now, some state senators are trying to get you your money back.

It is a story that 22News has been following for months now. Western Massachusetts residents were hit hardest by electric bill recalculation fees last winter when they tried to switch to a cheaper provider. State Senator Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) is a co-sponsor of the proposal. He said, “they were being forced to pay for not only the energy they went out and purchased on the open market, but also for the energy that the utility company had set aside for them. That didn’t seem fair to us; that’s why we acted yesterday.”

The Massachusetts Senate approved a measure that requires electric providers to reimburse customers impacted by hidden fees during a late night budget debate Tuesday. The DPU repealed the rule in April after outrage from customers. The rule was put in place fifteen years ago to prevent customers from constantly switching to cheaper providers.

Westfield State Senator Don Humason told 22News only customers slapped with retroactive fees this past winter would be eligible for a refund.

“The language that we put in the Senate passed yesterday would say that you either get a credit or they get a reimbursement,” said Humason.

The Massachusetts House rejected a similar proposal last month. Before anyone gets a refund, the Senate will have to reach an agreement with the House, then get the Governor to sign it into law.

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