Archive for June, 2016

IN 1976 I WAS PROTESTING NUCLEAR POWER AND THE WAY THE SEABROOK NUCLEAR POWER PLANT WAS GOING TO BE PAID FOR. IN 1961 THE NEW HAMPSHIRE SUPREME COURT DETERMINED THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY COULD ASK FOR COMPENSATION FOR THEIR CONSTRUCTION WORK WHILE IN PROGRESS. IN 1979, THE NEW HAMPSHIRE SUPREME COURT OVERTURNED THE 1961 DECISION. THE APPEALS PROCESS WENT ON FOR YEARS AND RESULTED IN SOME OF THE HIGHEST ELECTRICITY RATES IN NEW ENGLAND.

IMAGINE MY SURPRISE WHEN IN JANUARY 2016 THE PBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION RULED THAT NEW HAMPSHIRE LAW MAY ALLOW ELECTRIC DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES (EVERSOURCE) TO BUY NATURAL GAS CONTRACTS AND PASS THOSE COSTS OFF TO RATEPAYERS IN THE FORM OF A RATE TARIFF.

EVEN THOUGH KINDER MORGAN HAS CANCELLED THEIR PROPOSED PIPELINE THROUGH THE MONADNOCK REGION, EVERSOURCE STILL HAS A PETITION IN FRONT OF THE PUC TO CHARGE RATE PAYERS FOR CONSTRUCTION WORK IN PROGRESS. – DOCKET (#DE 16-241)

RULINGS BY GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES SUCH AS THE PUC BECOME DE FACTO LAW UNTIL CHALLENGED AT THE SUPREME COURT LEVEL. AND THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW; THE UTILITY COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO GET BACK TO THE BAD OLD DAYS WHEN THEY COULD USE RATE PAYERS AS THEIR INVESTORS.

IT BOILS DOWN TO THE QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT RATE PAYERS CAN BE CHARGED UPFRONT FOR THE RISK THE INVESTORS DO NOT WANT TO MAKE. I AM ASKING THE CITY COUNCIL TO ADOPT A RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE FUNDING OF A PRIVATE GAS PIPELINE THROUGH A DISTRIBUTION COST RECOVERY RATE TARIFF.

ACCORDING TO CLAIRE IN THE PUC CLERK’S OFFICE, PUBLIC COMMENT IS ALWAYS WELCOME, AND THE DISCOVERY PERIOD IS NOT OVER FOR THIS DOCKET NUMBER. SHE GRACIOUSLY SHOWED ME WHERE STAFF CAN FIND THE NAMES, MAILING AND EMAIL ADDRESSES OF ALL INTERESTED PARTIES SO THAT WE MAY CONTACT THEM, AND HER OFFICE FOR DISTRIBUTION TO INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE PUC.

THE PUC EXPECTS TO HOLD FUTURE TECH SESSIONS AND MAKE THEIR FINAL DECISION IN OCTOBER, AFTER IT GOES BEFORE THE GOVERNOR AND GOVERNOR’S COUNCIL. THE GOVERNOR INDICATED IN APRIL IN KEENE THAT SHE HAS NO POSITION ON THE RATE TARIFF. IN FACT, IT WAS AT A 2014 JOINT NEW ENGLAND GOVERNOR’S MEETING THAT THE IDEA OF RATE TARIFFS WAS FLOATED.

THE STATE SENATE IS NOT BACKING OFF ON THEIR DISCUSSIONS ABOUT EVERSOURCE’S RELATED EMINENT DOMAIN REQUEST. AND WE SHOULDN’T BACK OFF EITHER.

THE CITIZENS OF THIS CITY NEED TO BE PROTECTED FROM THE COMPLICATED BACKGROUND ACTIONS OF LITERALLY DOZENS OF INTERESTED STAKE-HOLDERS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE GOVERNOR, MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNOR’S COUNCIL AND THE PUC.

THE CITIZENS OF KEENE AND THE ENTIRE STATE RELY ON THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS ON ALL LEVELS TO ACTIVELY REPRESENT THEM IN THESE MATTERS, NOT MERELY SIT BACK AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

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