Berkshire Eagle article by Scott Stafford

In Berkshire County, where three paper mills have closed and a water bottling company has balked on plans for a new facility all because of the high cost of power, small and medium-size businesses are reeling.

Local economic development officials are seeing the hills that they must climb to attract new businesses — and retain existing ones — grow ever steeper as Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) continues to increase its commercial rates for power.

This is the setting that U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry chose for a field hearing of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, during which local business leaders will testify on the cost of energy and the effect it is having on their ability to make a profit and maintain employment levels.

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