The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved a discount electric rate contract for defense contractor Raytheon Co., a customer of Massachusetts Electric Co. (ME). But the secrecy surrounding the contract has created an uproar.
Although the terms of the contract are confidential, Raytheon said the three-year contract would yield "significant savings" on its $20-million annual electric bill. ME called the discount an "economic development" contract, which would keep Raytheon and its 17,500 employees from leaving the state. Although ME believes it still will profit from the contract, any losses would be absorbed by shareholders.
As originally proposed, the contract would have allowed ME to compete for business at Raytheon buildings located in the service territory of Boston Edison. That clause was removed, however, when Boston Edison objected to the confidentiality of the contract as a whole. Meanwhile, two Massachusetts House Committee chairmen have asked the DPU to explain the secrecy. DPU chairman John Howe was called to testify February 14 on the contract's confidential portions (em mostly financial.
The contract was announced at a press conference at which a large coalition of mostly environmental and consumer groups expressed dismay with the DPU's efforts to deregulate the industry.
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