The bulk-purchase agreement by 10 Berkshire towns that will partially ease the anticipated dramatic increase in electricity costs this winter is welcome but doesn’t change the suspect nature of the dramatic hikes. It is assuredly an endorsement of the wisdom of Berkshire communities working together whenever possible.

National Grid is forecasting a 37 percent increase in rates this winter and WMECO is sure to follow suit. The bulk-purchase agreement with the innovative Colonial Power Group (Eagle, Oct. 3) should result in rate hikes of about 24 percent — bad enough but not as bad. The increases, attributed to a shortage of natural gas at a time when a natural gas pipeline expansion is planned for the Berkshires, raises concerns that invite exploration by the office of the state attorney general.

In an increasingly challenging economic era, Berkshire communities must work together in areas like energy, education, tourism and job creation, among others. This agreement with Colonial Power provides an ideal example of the benefits of such cooperation.

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