North Country
6:00 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Northern Pass Says It Is Still Seeking Consensus

During a quarterly conference call Thursday officials at Northeast Utilities, the parent company of the Northern Pass project, said while they have a new route they still aren’t ready to say where it goes. 

And that the soonest the project could now get underway is 2017.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen listened in and has this report:

One reason the starting date of Northern Pass has slipped from 2015 to 2017 is opposition to the project.

Dozens of towns have voted against Northern Pass and it has been a statewide political issue.

During the conference call, Andrew Weisel, an analyst with the New-York based Macquarie Group asked this question.

“I certainly appreciate that it is a small but vocal minority that are very opposed to it in New Hampshire and it sounds like you guys are really going as far as you can to try to accommodate that group. Is there a certain point at which you just say agree to disagree and move forward?”

Northeast Utilities official Lee Olivier responded.

“I guess we’ll say we are not there yet. We are not at a point where we are going to plow through this thing.”

Olivier acknowledged the company is still dealing with issues including the route, scenic impact and burying the lines.

But Oliver said the company hopes to work out those issues and gain support.

“Once we feel we have a broad-enough consensus we will move forward.”

Asked whether that meant the project would not move ahead without public support, Michael Skelton, a  spokesman for Public Service of New Hampshire said Olivier's  statement “speaks for itself.”

He also noted the Olivier told analysts Northern Pass will be built.

For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen

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