Public Service of New Hampshire, the state’s largest electric utility, has filed an appeal with the state supreme court. PSNH is trying to head off regulators’ attempts to question whether the company should have installed a mercury scrubber on its largest coal-fired power plant.
At issue is who should pay for the $422 million dollar emissions scrubber on Merrimack Station in Bow. Regulators are working to determine if PSNH acted imprudently by continuing to build the scrubber even after the economic downturn, and the historic drop in the cost of natural gas, that has rendered the plant less competitive than it once was.
“We’re asking the court for its interpretation of the so-called scrubber law,” says spokesman Martin Murray.
He explains PSNH believes a 2006 law required the scrubber be built no matter what, and so PSNH customers should pay for it. “For about 4 years the PUC acknowledged that we were required to intall the scrubber as a matter of law, but recently the PUC changed its mind,” he says
PSNH competitors, notably TransCanada, argue that much or all of the cost of the scrubber should be deemed imprudent, and so the company should be required to foot the bill.