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Mass. AG appeals Eversource rate hike


Mass. AG appeals Eversource rate hike

Attorney General Maura Healey has appealed the Department of Public Utilities’ approval of a $36 million annual rate increase for Eversource. Healey said in a statement Wednesday that she specifically objected to the 10 percent shareholder return allowed by the DPU, which she called “one of the highest rates allowed by an electric distribution company regulator in the last five years.” Under the rate plans approved by the DPU last month, Eversource customers in the eastern part of the state would collectively pay an additional $12 million a year, while rates for its Western Massachusetts customers would rise by more than $24 million a year. Eversource, which delivers electricity to about 1.4 million customers in the state, had sought increases of $90 million for both regions combined. — GLOBE STAFF



Competition underway for clean-energy contracts

The second of the state’s clean-energy competitions officially began on Wednesday, as offshore wind developers lined up for potentially lucrative contracts. The first of these contests will end in early 2018: Energy companies in that round are competing to deliver various forms of “clean energy” to Massachusetts. Hydro-Quebec, with its vast supplies of Canadian hydropower, could be the one to beat. It teamed up with a few power line partners, to hedge its bets. Both competitions were sparked by a state law mandating that three big utilities – National Grid, Eversource, and Unitil – buy large amounts of clean energy. The prize for Round 2: the first in a series of contracts to build 1,600 megawatts of wind power south of Martha’s Vineyard. The bidders have long been known: Deepwater Wind, backed by hedge fund firm D.E. Shaw; Bay State Wind, a partnership between Eversource and Orsted (formerly Dong); and Vineyard Wind, owned by Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. The costs to ratepayers will likely be the biggest deciding factor; those details are not yet public. All three submitted bids to supply 400 megawatts, enough to power more than 200,000 homes. Deepwater, which favors a more incremental approach, also submitted a 200-megawatt bid. The Bay State and Vineyard teams submitted 800-megawatt options.


Former Fox News contributor settles cases against Ailes

The lawyer for a former Fox News contributor who sued the network for sexual harassment says she has settled her case. Julie Roginsky claimed her Fox career stalled after she rebuffed the advances of late Fox News chief Roger Ailes. A spokesman for her lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, would give no details about the settlement on Tuesday. Fox did not immediately return a request for comment. Meanwhile, the same lawyer filed a new case against Fox and its former prime-time star Bill O'Reilly on behalf of two women who are claiming defamation. The former Fox employees who settled harassment complaints against O'Reilly, Rebecca Gomez Diamond and Andrea Mackis, join another woman, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, claiming damages because of comments O'Reilly made defending himself. The amended complaint also claims the women were defamed by comments made last week by Fox executive Rupert Murdoch belittling the harassment cases against the network. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



SpaceX debuts new rocket set for January test flight

SpaceX has unveiled its new Falcon Heavy rocket a month before its first launch. Photos released Wednesday by SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk show the new rocket inside its Florida hangar. Missing is the cargo for the January test flight. Musk has said the Falcon Heavy will launch his own cherry-red Tesla Roadster into space. First, though, SpaceX will test-fire all 27 of the rocket’s engines at the pad. That’s three times more engines than the company’s Falcon 9, used to hoist satellites and space station supplies. SpaceX aims to conduct the test by the end of the month. Musk has repeatedly warned there’s a good chance the rocket could blow up. He heads up the Tesla electric car company. ASSOCIATED PRESS



Reports of people getting sick after eating at Chipotle being investigated

The Los Angeles County health department is investigating reports of illnesses by customers who ate at a Chipotle. The burrito chain says it has not directly received any complaints from customers and was not aware of any reports made to local health officials. Chipotle said it only knew of complaints on ‘‘user-generated reporting sites,’’ but did increase preventative measures at the undisclosed location. Chipotle has struggled to regain the confidence of customers after an E. coli outbreak in 2015. Last summer, a Chipotle in Virginia had to close temporarily after diners fell ill. Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. plummeted, to about $300 each, in afternoon trading. That’s less than half of what they were at their 2015 peak, before the E. coli outbreak. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Granite State to snub FirstNet responders network

New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu again defended his decision reject a public safety communications system approved by dozens of other states amid concerns about the move from a top business group, a union, and others. The First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, was created in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when some police and fire departments couldn’t communicate with each other over incompatible radio systems. It has been approved by dozens of states, with Illinois becoming the latest to opt-in. New Hampshire will use another company, Rivada Networks. Sununu said Wednesday that its plan is ‘‘far and away the best solution.’’ The Executive Council needs to approve the Rivada contract. Sununu said that’s expected to be presented for a vote in January or February. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Sesame Workshop, charity group get $100 million MacArthur grant

Child refugees will be getting their own version of “Sesame Street” with support of a $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee won the grant in MacArthur’s first 100&Change competition, designed to fund a big bet leading to “meaningful and enduring change.” The award is about a thousand times larger than most foundation grants, said Cecilia A. Conrad, the MacArthur officer in charge of the contest, which attracted about 1,900 proposals. The Sesame and IRC project focuses on educating young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East. It also seeks to help them cope with the stresses of their situation. In-person interventions and a range of media will be offered to children affected by the civil war in Syria. “We are compelled to respond to the urgent Syrian refugee crisis by supporting what will be the largest early childhood-intervention program ever created in a humanitarian setting,” MacArthur President Julia Stasch said in a statement. Education accounts for less than 2 percent of the global humanitarian-aid budget, she added. The customized content will include a “Sesame Street’" program, picture books, games and parenting resources. Sesame and IRC plan to set up child-development centers at various points of aid. They also will train community health workers to help distribute content to caregivers and children. Sesame Workshop has made several localized versions of its popular “Sesame Street” television show for countries including Bangladesh and South Africa, while the IRC’s operations in refugee communities give the project a distribution network and local knowledge. Sesame and IRC will receive the $100 million over five years. — BLOOMBERG NEWS