Change at National Grid

The chairman of the board of National Grid -- which is seeking a $370 million electric rate increase in upstate New York -- is stepping down at the end of 2011, according to a story published Monday in the Financial Times.

It's unclear if John Parker's decision to leave the company has anything to do with the uproar caused in New York and Massachusetts over questionable spending by executives that the company was trying to pass onto customers as part of the rate hike. The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The rate increases in New York and Massachusetts are critical to National Grid's future as the company has been pushing to raise rates to pay for massive infrastructure projects in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Last week, National Grid moved to erase $4.4 million in questionable expenses from the rate hike request in an attempt to move on from the controversy as hearings began in Albany at the New York State Public Service Commission, the five-person board that reviews rate increases in the state.

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