State approves Eversource rate hikes over AG's objections

State utilities regulators on Thursday approved a nearly $37 million per year rate hike for Eversource's Massachusetts electric customers that was much smaller than requested, but still drew the ire of the state attorney general.

The Department of Public Utilities' 841-page decision means that Eversource's eastern Massachusetts customers will collectively pay an additional $12.2 million, while western Massachusetts customers will pay an additional $24.7 million. The rate hike takes effect Jan. 1.

The exact impact of the new rates on individual ratepayers' bills is yet to be determined.

Eversource had sought a $91 million annual hike.

"We are disappointed with the deep cuts the DPU made to our rate request because we feel we provided sufficient and detailed documentation to support the total increase we requested," Eversource spokesman Michael Durand said.

Attorney General Maura Healey sought reduced rates and said the DPU's approval "chooses unjustified corporate profits over Eversource's 1.4 million customers" in Massachusetts.

"Disappointingly, the increase includes a 10 percent shareholder return, one of the highest in the country," Healey said.

The decision allows for additional annual rate increases of over 3.5 percent per year over the following four years for a total increase of over $220 million over five years, she said.

The higher rates are needed in part to boost state-mandated clean energy and green technology initiatives, including building the infrastructure for a network of electrical vehicle charging stations and energy storage pilot programs.