BOSTON (AP) - Authorities say Massachusetts residents face more than $1 billion in higher electricity bills over the next two decades under a plan to dramatically expand solar power.

Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, said Tuesday that the average residential customer would pay $1 to $1.50 more a month under the plan pushed by Gov. Deval Patrick.

In a filing with state regulators, Northeast Utilities System contended Patrick's plan to quadruple the amount of solar power in use in Massachusetts would lead to consumers paying "excess costs" of more than $1 billion because of how they would be forced to buy the electricity.

Sylvia tells The Boston Globe in exchange for higher bills, Massachusetts residents would get cleaner air, a more diverse source of electricity, and more jobs.


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