Baker treads softly on Healey proposal

Baker treads softly on Healey proposal

Won’t say whether he favors reform or removal of electricity sellers

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER adopted a cautious approach to Attorney General Maura Healey’s call for the elimination of a 50-company business sector that sells electricity to homeowners in Massachusetts.

Healey last Thursday condemned the sales tactics of the electricity sellers, and said the best approach to dealing with them would be to do away with the industry entirely. Healey pledged to work with lawmakers on Beacon Hill to pass a bill that would do just that.

Baker praised Healey for highlighting the misleading information some of the companies were using to close sales with customers, but hedged on whether Healey’s solution is the right one.

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“If the Legislature wants to choose to remove instead of reform the program, that’s certainly something we’re willing to talk to them about,” Baker said. “But the fact that her office did the work that was required to determine that these people were misrepresenting what they were selling to people is a good thing.”

Asked whether he personally favored reform or removal of the electricity sellers, Baker begged off. “The decision was just issued. We’re still doing some homework on it,” he said.

Matthew Beaton, the governor’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, was a bit more forthcoming. “We need to dive a little deeper into the attorney general’s findings and then do our own due diligence,” he said. “It could be a case of a few bad actors. There are reputable companies out there that provide these services and there are also alternative services than just price alone. It’s a little too early to jump the gun on whether we’re going to abolish the system or not.”