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Vote No on Question 4


  Until today I was a bit indifferent about Cellucci/Harshbarger. After
having read what I did today, I think it is IMPERATIVE to get Cellucci
OUT. Send this note to EVERYONE as soon as possible!

 Cellucci appears to support question 4. Ralph Nader calls Question 4
"possibly the biggest ripoff in Massachusetts history". With good
reason.

 Question 4 basically asks the voters if they approve of the Mass
deregulation law recently passed. You MUST VOTE NO! Here's why:

 The bill makes the taxpayers of Mass foot the bill for bad
investments by Boston Edison , Northeast Utilities, etc. To the tune
of $3000 each! 

 It deregulates controls on building NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS. Want one of
those in your back yard.

 In other states, similar measures were taken, and the failed
investments were either charged to the utility stockholders or split
with taxpayers.

 Think: The utilities are pounding us with TV ads saying vote yes. Are
they doing it for public interest or big profits? No surprise here!

 Visit http://www.stopthebailout.com to get the info. Learn what state
reps split 2 million from utilities to pass this law.  Attached is a
short Q & A from that site.

What is deregulation and why is it happening?

Customers in Massachusetts pay electric rates nearly 50% above the
national average. Until March 1st, depending on where you lived or
worked, it was decided for you which electricity company was yours.
Now, ratepayers in Massachusetts have the right to choose which
company provides power to their home or business. Bringing competition
to electricity should have brought down rates a lot -- many thought by
as much as 30% to 40% below what we currently pay. 
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Will customers really be able to choose their power supplier?

No, unless they are a large corporation or part of a collaborative of
large institutions and businesses. Not one single firm which has
registered to "compete" with the new DTE (Department of
Telecommunications & Energy) is ready or prepared to sell to
residential or small-business customers. 
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Will there be competition?

The utilities spent more than $2 million lobbying the Legislature.
They got what they wanted: a law which stacks the deck in their favor
and makes it very hard for any other power suppliers to compete. The
existing utilities are artificially propped up with billions of
ratepayer dollars for the bailout of their bad investments. And they,
but not new firms, can recover any early losses from customers later.
So they have been provided with the tools to drive away any
competition. 
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What will the recently passed legislation do for me?

Not enough. Instead of dramatically lowering rates for everyone,
government leaders provided for a small initial cut (roughly $5-6
dollars a month), while most large businesses will be able to
negotiate far larger reductions. In addition, these small savings in
our bills will be short-lived -- eaten up by inflation adjustments
and, in most cases, charged back to customers (with interest) in
future years. So, even with the new law, our rates will still be
nearly 50% higher than what the average customer across America pays. 
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What is the $3000 utility tax?

That's the amount every family in Massachusetts will be forced to pay
to bail out their existing utility for poor investments they've made
in the past -- like in nuclear plants -- which won't be worth much of
anything once competition comes on the scene. The total bailout could
approach $12 billion in Massachusetts, and must be paid regardless of
which company you choose in the future. That's like Ford Motor Company
collecting a surcharge from anyone who buys a new car, regardless of
the make, to recoup their losses on the Edsel. 



This multi-billion bailout was not debated in the Massachusetts House
for even one minute. And now we're being stuck with the whole bill.
One hundred percent of it, every month for years. We pay it... or the
lights are turned off. Ralph Nader called this the "biggest consumer
rip-off in Massachusetts history." 
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Aren't customers already paying for the utilities' bad investments?

Yes, customers are paying now. We've had a wasteful, overpriced system
for years. We pay close to 50% above the national average. But the
fact that we've been saddled with these stranded costs for years is a
reason to end them, not to continue them.
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Aren't all states involved in deregulation charging customers for 100%
of these bad investments?

No. Pennsylvania ruled that Philadelphia Electric Co. could not charge
customers for as much as $2 billion in stranded costs. Following this
decision, the company charged this cost to its shareholders.
Connecticut ruled that Northeast Utilities (parent of Western Mass.
Electric) could not charge to consumers for the costs of an
uneconomical nuclear plant. New Hampshire's deregulation law requires
utilities and their customers to split costs of bad investments. 
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Is electric deregulation pretty much like telephone and airplane
deregulation?

No. When the telephone and airline industries were deregulated,
consumers didn't have to bail out the inefficient companies before
they bought service from another provider. The electric deregulation
law makes us all pay for the utilities' bad investments that won't be
economically viable in a free market. 
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Is the deregulation law good for the environment?

Even though the new law's provision on renewable energy is a step
forward, overall the law is bad for the environment. It allows some of
the worst polluting power plants to operate well into the 21st
century. And it takes away the requirement that there must be a need
for more power in Massachusetts before a new power plant can be built
in any community. Finally, the law reduces, then phases out, spending
on vital conservation measures. 
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How will the deregulation law affect jobs in Massachusetts?

For each of the next five years, studies have shown Massachusetts will
lose the opportunity to create as many as 25,000 jobs per year which
otherwise would have been created. By sending billions of dollars to
out-of-state shareholders and bondholders, Massachusetts will lose
vital spending power and investment capital. In addition, thousands of
utility workers' jobs will be in jeopardy. 
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Does the Campaign for Fair Electric Rates just oppose deregulation or
does it have a better plan.

We have a better plan. We favor deregulation, but in a form which is
pro-consumer and fair. If utilities and customers shared the cost of
past bad investments, rates could be cut 30% or more and resources
would be available to protect the environment and workers. A year ago,
Attorney General Luther Scott Harshbarger, a key supporter of the
deregulation law, said that the utilities had no right to stranded
costs, and that deregulation should result in savings to consumers of
25%. This position, while it understates possible savings, is
basically the correct one. 
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What can we do about it?

Repeal this assault on our wallets and lungs, and replace it with a
law which requires the utilities' stockholders to share with
ratepayers the cost of their companies' bad investments. That would
save us billions of dollars and lead to steep cuts in our bills. The
referendum repealing the law will be on the November, 1998 ballot. 
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What will happen if this law is repealed?

The status quo will be restored. Then, Beacon Hill will have to pass a
new law. This time, after the voters have spoken, we expect the
Legislature would see the light and pass a pro-consumer deregulation
bill. But even before November, in light of all the flaws in the law,
the Legislature could fix it. If it doesn't, the people can do it
themselves in November. 
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