During his gubernatorial nomination acceptance speech at the state Democratic convention, Joseph Ely supported a proposal by Rep. Birmingham that municipalities be allowed to buy power distribution companies in their area.
“As a check upon the unwise and unjustifiable methods in the operation of public utilities I favor legislation making it easier for municipalities to acquire ownership of the distributing companies in their various localities, substantially in accord with the minority report made to the legislature by Representative Leo M. Birmingham,” Ely said (Springfield Republican, Sept. 28, 1930, pp. 1, 2).
Ely said that high power rates were making Massachusetts products less competitive with products made in other parts of the country where power rates are lower.
“The question of light and power rates is important, because of its close relation to prosperity and unemployment. The products of our factories cannot be sold in competition with those produced in other sections of the country if the cost is too high,” he warned.
“The operation of this utility has been conducted under franchise privileges from the state, in return for which it is the duty of the government to see that its rates are based upon the theory of reasonable and prudent investment. It has been publicly admitted that even a difference of a quarter of a cent per kilowatt in power rates meant different between profit and loss in many industries,” Ely added.