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TALKING POINTS

Eversource electricity bills going up

ENERGY

Eversource electricity bills going up

Eversource’s electric customers in Eastern Massachusetts might want to brace for some sticker shock, with average bills for the summer expected to go up by 36 percent on Friday from a year ago. The typical household can expect an electric bill of about $183, starting in July, for the next six-month period, compared to $135 a year ago, according to the company. The price increase only applies to Eversource’s basic service customers in the region — those who purchase their electric supplies from Eversource. The company has about 266,000 such customers in its Eastern Massachusetts territory, or one-quarter of the households. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office encouraged customers who are struggling with their bills to set up payment plans and to find out if they qualify for an income-eligible rate. James Daly, the company’s vice president of energy supply, said natural gas producers have not returned to pre-pandemic levels of activity, which is driving up power costs because roughly half of the region’s electricity comes from natural gas. The disruption in the market caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also caused liquefied natural gas prices to shoot up worldwide, creating a ripple effect in the US energy market. — JON CHESTO

HEALTH CARE

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AllWays changing its name

Nonprofit health insurer AllWays Health Partners announced on Wednesday that it is changing its name to Mass General Brigham Health Plan to reflect the name of its parent, hospital network Mass General Brigham. The Somerville-based insurer, which has 264,000 members, was founded as Neighborhood Health Plan in 1986 and acquired by what was then known as Partners HealthCare (now Mass General Brigham) in 2012. The insurer will end up having the Allways name for a relatively short period of time: The organization adopted that name in 2019, and it will be gone as of Jan. 1. — JON CHESTO

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AIRLINES

The fight goes on for flight attendant who wore face shield

A prominent labor strategist has taken up the cause of a Boston-based American Airlines flight attendant who insisted on wearing a face shield at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and filed a whistle-blower complaint against the airline for retaliating against her for doing so. Ray Rogers, director of Corporate Campaign Inc., which advises unions and public interest groups, wrote in a letter Monday to the airline’s lawyer at Littler Mendelson in Boston that the airline’s recent request for an “exhaustive list of documents” is an attempt to “intimidate, harass and overwhelm her into giving into the airline’s ill-advised efforts to bully her into accepting an unjust settlement offer.” (Rogers is the second cousin of a fellow flight attendant of the whistle-blower, Deirdre Daudt.) Daudt, of Worcester, filed the complaint with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in June of 2020, stating that she was harassed and intimidated for wearing the face shield. The next month, American reversed course and started allowing flight attendants to wear face shields. The airline removed two notes from Daudt’s record regarding her violation of the airline’s uniform policy, but Daudt continued to press for damages, noting that she was diagnosed with PTSD and missed three months of work. OSHA dismissed the complaint in March, stating that she hadn’t suffered damage or been harassed, but Daudt is appealing. “I want to hold them accountable,” she said. American Airlines did not reply to a request for comment. — KATIE JOHNSTON

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RETAIL

FTC sues Walmart over its money transfer services

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Walmart, alleging the company should have done more to keep scammers from using its money transfer services to carry out schemes that cost consumers tens of millions of dollars. The retail giant dismissed the lawsuit as “factually flawed and legally baseless.” In the complaint filed Tuesday, the FTC said Walmart failed to secure the money transfer services or intervene in scammer activities. “The company did not properly train its employees, failed to warn customers, and used procedures that allowed fraudsters to cash out at its stores,” the commission said in a news release. — WASHINGTON POST

SKI RESORTS

Suicide Six will get a new name

A small ski area in Vermont has announced that it’s retiring its name, Suicide Six, this summer amid growing concerns about the insensitive nature of the historical name. The resort said on its website on Tuesday that it shares those concerns and “embraces the increasing awareness surrounding mental health.” The resort’s website said the name originally came after the man who built one of the runs on Hill No. 6 joked that skiing the steep trail would be suicide. A new name will be announced in the coming weeks. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

STEEL

US Steel to end production in Illinois

US Steel Corp., the nation’s third-largest steelmaker, announced it is in talks to end production at its century-old furnaces in Illinois. The more than 120-year-old Pittsburgh-based company plans to sell the two blast furnaces at its Granite City Works facility to SunCoke Energy for an undisclosed amount to propel the use of so-called pig iron, a raw material needed to make steel in its mini-mills. Transitioning the facility to produce the raw material from steelmaking will take until 2024 and would result in the loss of as many as 1,000 jobs, according to the company. Following the implementation of then-president Donald Trump’s divisive 25 percent duties on imported steel, Granite City became the backdrop for a speech in July 2018 after the company restarted one of the steel furnaces. He proclaimed the furnaces there were “blazing bright” after years of “cutbacks” in the American industry. Workers were called back in to the jobs they lost. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

Economy shrank at annual rate of 1.6 percent in first quarter

The US economy shrank at a 1.6 percent annual pace in the first three months of the year, the government reported Wednesday in a slight downgrade from its previous estimate for January-March quarter. It was the first drop in gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — since the second quarter of 2020, in the depths of the COVID-19 recession, and followed a strong 6.9 percent expansion in the final three months of 2021. Inflation is running at 40-year highs, and consumer confidence is sinking. Last month, the Commerce Department had pegged first-quarter GDP growth at 1.5 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUTOMOTIVE

Toyota made fewer cars in May due to supply-chain snags

Toyota produced 5.3 percent fewer vehicles in May than a year earlier as it slowed output due to supply-chain disruptions afflicting global manufacturers. Output totaled 634,940 vehicles in May, the Japanese carmaker said Wednesday. Toyota sold 761,466 vehicles globally last month, down from 840,303 vehicles a year earlier. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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