On any given week, our email inboxes reflect the concerns of our constituents. For years, emails have poured in about COVID-19, education, climate change, infrastructure, and more. This winter, a top concern is the price of energy.

We share this concern and have been working together since we were elected to reform the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and break down barriers to green energy.

We wrote about the utility sweetheart deals last session along with the President of the Acadia Center, a clean energy nonprofit with which we have partnered.

But even with this legislation, utilities would still be responsible for energy system planning, owning and operating grid infrastructure, and serving customers. Not only would conflicts of interest remain, so would planning silos between different utilities, which cause overspending, reduced reliability, and more pollution. There is also no incentive to consider equity and environmental justice concerns.

That’s why we’ve partnered again with the Acadia Center to file legislation to implement the RESPECT initiative. An Act reforming energy system planning for equity and climate transformation (SD.863 / HD.1696) is an ambitious proposal to overhaul energy system planning and reimagine the regulatory framework for utilities.

It shouldn’t break the bank to keep your lights on and your home at a reasonable temperature.

If you think you’ve been paying too much for energy, please know we’re channeling our energy toward an affordable and clean energy future for all.

State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, represents the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester District. State Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Deerfield, represents the 1st Franklin District.

Read more in the Greenfield Recorder here.