BOSTON — State utilities regulators have approved a nearly $37 million per year rate hike for Eversource's Massachusetts electric customers that was much smaller than requested, but still drew the ire of the state attorney general.

The Department of Public Utilities' decision Thursday means that Eversource's eastern Massachusetts customers will collectively pay an additional $12.2 million, while western Massachusetts customers will pay an additional $24.7 million. The rate hike takes effect Jan. 1.

Eversource had sought a $91 million annual hike.

Attorney General Maura Healey sought reduced rates and said the DPU's approval ``chooses unjustified corporate profits over Eversource's 1.4 million customers.''

An Eversource spokesman says the approved hike was disappointing and the utility thought it had justified the higher rates needed in part to boost clean energy initiatives.

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