White Paper -- Municipal Light Plants in Massachusetts: Spotlight on Clean Energy Initiatives

Municipal light plants, often referred to as municipal utilities or “munis,” serve all or part of 50 communities in Massachusetts (see Figure 1 and Table 1), and deliver 13% of the electricity in the state (MMWEC 2014a & MA DOER). Unlike private investor-owned utilities (IOUs), munis are community-owned and exempt from many of the state’s regulatory requirements. As such, munis are largely responsible for initiating and operating any renewable energy and energy efficiency programs within their territories. This white paper aims to provide an overview of the legislative history and operational practices of munis as the context for a discussion of the clean energy initiatives that are offered to their customers. Spotlights on the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) and munis in Holyoke, Wellesley, and Littleton and Boxborough provide a lens through which to examine a sampling of clean energy initiatives, to highlight lessons learned, and to suggest potential future opportunities.

Map of Municipalities in Massachusetts Served by Municipal Light Plants


List of 41 Massacusetts Municipal Light Plants

Ashburnham Municipal Light Department

Merrimac Light Department

Belmont Municipal Light Department

Middleborough Gas and Electric Department

Boylston Municipal Light Department

Middleton Municipal Electric Department

Braintree Electric Light Department

North Attleborough Electric Department

Chester Municipal Light Department

Norwood Municipal Light Department

Chicopee Municipal Lighting Plant

Paxton Municipal Light Department

Concord Municipal Light Plant

Peabody Municipal Light Plant

Danvers Electric Division

Princeton Municipal Light Department

Georgetown Municipal Light Department

Reading Municipal Light Department

Groton Electric Light Department

Rowley Municipal Lighting Plant

Groveland Municipal Light Plant

Russell Municipal Light Department

Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant

Shrewsbury Electric & Cable Operations

Holden Municipal Light Department

South Hadley Electric Light Department

Holyoke Gas & Electric Department

Sterling Municipal Light Department

Hudson Light and Power Department

Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant

Hull Municipal Light Department

Templeton Municipal Light & Water Plant

Ipswich Municipal Light Department

Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department

Littleton Electric Light & Water Department

Wellesley Municipal Light Plant

Mansfield Municipal Electric Department

West Boylston Municipal Light Plant

Marblehead Municipal Light Department

Westfield Gas & Electric

Mass Development/Devens Utility


Source: MA DOER. http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/electric-power/massachusetts-municipally-owned-electric-utilities.html

To read the white paper in full, download the file below


MAPC_MLPWhitePaper_Jul2016.pdf849.66 KB