Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Court

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Five months after the Department of Public Utilities ("department") approved the request of Bay State Gas Company ("Bay State") to sell and transfer all the common stock of its subsidiary Northern Utilities, Inc. ("Northern"), Bay State filed a petition for a general increase in its natural gas distribution rates. The department denied that request while allowing Bay State a general rate increase of $19 million. Bay state appealed the department's decision asserting several points of error. The court affirmed the department's decision and held that the department expressly left open the "appropriate ratemaking treatment" to be afforded the operational cost impacts associated with the sale of Northern. Therefore, it was appropriate to address proper treatment of once-shared functions in light of Bay State's assertions during the section 96 Northern proceeding. The court rejected Bay State's other assertions and remanded to the county court where a judgment was to be entered affirming the decisions and order of the department.