Eversource

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Two state representatives from the Seacoast are raising concerns about Eversource’s plan to buy a water utility company.

Eversource, New England’s largest energy company, announced back in June that it had plans to buy Aquarion, the region’s largest private water company.

The deal spans three states and is valued at about $1.7 billion.

Democratic Representatives Mindi Messmer of Rye and Renny Cushing of Hampton say it’s a bad deal for New Hampshire rate payers, and they've been working to stop it.

Michael Kappel via Flickr CC

New England electricity consumers paid billions of dollars more than necessary over a three-year period, according to a national environmental group. But some observers are skeptical, while one utility named in the report is calling it an outright fabrication.

New England electricity consumers paid billions of dollars more than necessary over a three-year period, according to a report by a national environmental group. It's prompted a review by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, but one utility named in the report is calling it an outright fabrication.

Eversource announced it will sell its electricity generating stations in New Hampshire for nearly $260 million.

 

This comes after a 20-year process and 2015 agreement to deregulate the state's energy industry.

 

As NHPR's Sam Evans-Browns reports, Eversource's dams, hydro-facilities and fossil fuel plants will be owned by private companies - which will then sell the energy on the open market.

 

  The state committee reviewing Northern Pass has pushed back its deadline to make a decision, but a spokesman for the hydro-electric transmission project tells NHPR, “the end is in sight.”

 

“To use an overused sports analogy,” Martin Murray says, “We’re in the fourth quarter.”

 

Others might say it is overtime.

 

What's Happening With The Northern Pass Project?

Sep 13, 2017
NorthernPass.us

The decision on the hydro-electric transmission project, which would bring power from Canada to New England, has been postponed yet again. We review the goals of this $1.6 billion proposal and examine how the debate around it has changed since it was first presented in 2010.


The future of a proposed utility project on the Seacoast is facing new uncertainty.

The Site Evaluation Committee on Monday said all scheduled hearings on an Eversource plan to build a transmission line across the Seacoast will be postponed indefinitely. The SEC says the process can't go on without a final report from the Department of Environmental Services on the potential impacts of the project.

Officials with the town of Durham say they remain concerned about a proposal to bury a long-distance power cable across a one-mile stretch of Great Bay.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Residents of Webster and nearby communities gathered Tuesday night to learn more about National Grid’s recently proposed energy transmission project.

Jason Moon for NHPR

People concerned about a proposed utility project on the Seacoast gathered for a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Outside the offices of the Department of Environmental Services in Portsmouth, roughly 20 people held signs showing their support for the environmental health of the Great Bay estuary.

The state's largest utility, Eversource, is hoping to bury a portion of a proposed transmission line beneath Great Bay.

Demonstrators here say that could do permanent damage to the tidal estuary. Eversource maintains it won’t.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Members of the public were given their latest chance to weigh in on Northern Pass, a proposed utility transmission project that would bring hydropower from Quebec to Southern New England via New Hampshire.

File photo

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has settled a dispute between towns and electric companies in the state over how to appraise the value of land used by utilities.

Last Friday, the state’s highest court ruled in favor of 60 towns across New Hampshire that argued they should be the ones to appraise the land used by utilities in their towns.

Power companies Eversource and New Hampshire Electric Coop argued that a different appraisal of the property, done by the state, is more accurate.

That state appraisal would result in a lower tax burden for the companies.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Picture unspoiled wild forest, the type of place only animals and Boy Scouts feel at home. Now erase that image from your mind, and picture a power line right of way: one of those ruler-straight strips of utility poles that brutishly slash through the woods. Would anything choose that for a home?

Experts hired by the town of Durham are raising concerns about the potential environmental impact of a proposal to bury a power line beneath Great Bay.

The utility company Eversource is hoping to build a 13 mile transmission line on the Seacoast, burying a portion of it beneath Great Bay.

After residents raised concerns about the environmental impact of burying the cable, the town of Durham hired a consultant to review Eversource’s proposal.

Amy Quinton; NHPR

New Hampshire already permits a limited amount of net-metering, which allows solar panel owners to sell some power back to the electric grid.  The solar industry has long called for those limits to be lifted, but the state's utilities say they can only accommodate so much, without passing on costs to other customers. 


Jason Moon for NHPR

Disputes between utility companies and local residents over new power lines are a familiar story. But on New Hampshire's Seacoast, a version of that story is playing out with a few twists. For one, the power lines would go underwater. And two, they would go through a town that prides itself on its history of opposing energy projects.

Elaine Grant for NHPR

The largest energy provider in the New England region will spend $30 million this year to trim trees along 2,800 miles of power lines in New Hampshire.

WMUR-TV reports Eversource is trimming the trees to prevent power outages caused by limbs that have been weakened by ongoing drought conditions in the state.

The utility has hired a team of arborists tasked with examining trees along power lines in an effort to spot any issues before a power outage could occur. Eversource officials say customers have been reporting outages caused by trees that fall for no apparent reason.

Bryan Hanson / Morguefile

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced a million dollars in grants Tuesday to restore New Hampshire’s forest and fish habitat.

Eight organizations received funding to restore wildlife habitat in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. Collectively, the groups will open nearly 200 miles of streams for fish passage and improve habitat for the New England Cottontail, American woodcock, and golden-winged warblers.

Eversource, New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, is donating the bulk of the funding.

Ivo Rocha Jr / Flickr/CC

We’ll check in with where the Northern Pass project stands, and what’s next in the process.

 

GUESTS:

 

New Hampshire's largest electric utility is seeking permission to buy and sell natural gas from a proposed pipeline expansion.

The Concord Monitor reports Eversource filed a request Thursday with the Public Utilities Commission that would allow it to buy natural gas from the Access Northeast pipeline expansion for two decades.

The pipeline expansion would be built by the Hartford, Connecticut-based utility and two other firms through Connecticut and eastern Massachusetts.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

 

New Hampshire's largest utility says its customers can look forward to paying 5 percent less for energy service this winter compared to last.

Eversource says it has asked state regulators to adjust its energy charge to 9.99 cents per kilowatt hour, as of Jan. 1, 2016. The current charge of 8.98 cents per kilowatt hour has been in place since July 1.

Last winter, the charge was 10.56 cents per kilowatt hour.

Seasonal price swings are tied to the region's supply and demand challenge, especially in regards to natural gas pipeline constraints.

File photo

For most New Hampshire residents, electricity should be less expensive this winter than last. At least, that's the indication based on recent rate requests from some of the state's largest electric utilities.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Staff at the Public Utilities Commission say a grand bargain struck earlier this year to sell Eversource’s New Hampshire fleet of power plants may not be in the best interest of rate-payers.

Chris Jensen for NHPR


In Whitefield Wednesday night, Northern Pass officials told Coos residents burying the entire transmission line would be so expensive the project couldn't move forward.

The public meeting for Coos County was one of a series required by the state before Northern Pass can seek approval from the state's Site Evaluation Committee.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Eversource

Officials with Northern Pass, the controversial hydropower project, have announced an offer to bury an additional fifty-two miles of power lines – roughly a third of the total. But opponents still have concerns, including impacts on the environment and property values. We’ll get the latest, hear from both sides, and find out what might be next. 

PSNH / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law a plan allowing New Hampshire's largest utility to sell its fleet of power plants.

Eversource Energy says selling the nine Public Service Company of New Hampshire hydro facilities and three fossil fuel plants could mean a savings of $300 million to ratepayers.

The plants to be sold include the Merrimack Station in Bow, Newington Station and Schiller Station in Portsmouth.

The deal also says the company can recover all but $25 million of the $422 million it spent on a pollution-reducing scrubber.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire’s largest utility says a US Supreme Court ruling which on mercury emissions won’t affect its plans to install pollution controls at its coal-burning plant in Portsmouth.

The ruling – which finds the EPA should have incorporated estimates of the cost of the proposed regulation earlier on in the process – comes after Eversource has already begun work on upgrades to the sixty six-year-old plant.

PSNH / flickr, creative commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33314439@N05/6279908349

 

New Hampshire's largest utility says it is announcing a "major jobs initiative" involving energy projects.

Eversource has scheduled a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at its facility in Hooksett.

The utility says the announcement includes a partnership to train workers that will help the regional grid meet 21st century demands.

Public Service of New Hampshire

   

New Hampshire's largest utility says its plan to sell off its fleet of power plants is in the hands of state energy regulators.

Eversource filed the settlement with the Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday. It depends on legislation passed by the House and Senate; Gov. Maggie Hassan said she would sign it.

Eversource says the sale means customers will no longer be responsible for paying for the continued operation of them, and will avoid potentially costly investments to meet environmental standards.

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