Environment
5:59 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Groups Agree: Time To Decide What To Do With PSNH Plants

The New Hampshire House appears poised to send the question of whether the state's largest utility should sell its power plants to regulators.

In 2012, lawmakers tried to force PSNH to sell its power plants outright, but that effort stalled in the New Hampshire house. So this time around they’ve written a bill that asks the Public Utilities Commission to rule on whether that sale would eventually lower electric rates.

That bill got near unanimous support during a committee hearing Thursday, including from PSNH itself.

“These are dramatic times in the energy market. Dealing with these issues is extremely complicated and we believe that the PUC is a good place for us to deal with these facts and these issues,” said Bill Smagula, Public Service’s Vice President for Generation

PSNH competitors, environmental groups, and business groups, agreed it’s time to finish the argument about PSNH’s plants, once and for all.

Some also feel that the long fight over PSNH’s power plants has taken all of the room in New Hampshire for discussing other possible changes.

“We’re missing out on lots of innovation,” said Susan Chamberlain, the state’s consumer advocate, listing a variety of changes occurring elsewhere in the energy industry, like smart-grids and time-of-use rates, “all of this doesn’t get discussed because we simply don’t have the time and the resources to do anything other than argue about these plants.”

When asked what time-table for a decision would be appropriate, a PUC representative said a ruling might be possible nine-months from the passage of the bill.