Sharles E. Wardwell, counsel for the Massachusetts Gas and Electric Association, told the Legislative Committee on Power and Light April 23 that Rep. Birmingham’s minority report on power rates drew an inaccurate picture of comparative costs of operating municipal and private power plants (Boston Globe, April 23, 1930, p. 11).
Wardwell said that if the Boston Edison Company did business on the same basis as the Belmont municipal power plant, which charges a rate of five cents per kilowatt hour, the rate the Boston company would charge would be around 3½ cents instead of the 8 ½ cent maximum rate that is now imposed.
Birmingham produced the minority report of a special commission set up by the House to look into the power rate situation.
Wardwell said it was virtually impossible to compare the rates in one community with a private plant with the rates in another community with a municipal plant. Not only are the conductions in the two communities differences, but methods of doing business, such as taxation, lamp service, and average costs, differ materially, he argued.
Wardwell also denied challenged Birmingham’s assertion that not only the costs devolving on communities for legal expenses in fighting lighting company rate increases are borne by them, but as well the costs of the companies in this respect. Such an assertion may be true in the event that the company is making a profit, but it is not true if it is not making a profit. In the latter case, the cost is borne by the stockholders, he said.