Merrimack Station

PSNH / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has agreed to put the brakes on a big decision regarding the state’s largest electric utility, Public Service of New Hampshire.

The first is how much it will be reimbursed for a scrubber on a power plant in Bow that saw more than hundred million dollars more than was initially estimated. And the second is whether they should be allowed to continue to own power-plants – period – or if instead independent, third-parties should be the only companies in the electricity generation market.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Public Service of New Hampshire wants to seek a settlement on two major proceedings currently before utility regulators.

The first decision facing the Public Utilities Commission is how much ratepayers should have to spend to reimburse the cost of a $422 million scrubber on its coal-fired power plant in Bow. The second is whether it’s in customers’ best interest to allow PSNH to keep its power plants, or if the utility should sell them.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This winter’s cold weather has proven a boon to Public Service of New Hampshire and its customers. Spikes in the price of natural gas have lifted regional electric prices, making PSNH’s rates competitive again.

PSNH says during most of the winter it was able to more cheaply produce electricity using its fleet of power plants than buying it on the open market and this saved the company $115 million dollars, savings which will be passed on to customers.

Public Service of New Hampshire

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its 2010 data of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the state.

Power plants are at the top of the list.

The EPA collected data from nine different industries that emit greenhouse gases including power plants, pulp and paper mills, landfills and other industrial sources.

All told, they produced five-point nine million metric tons of greenhouse gases in New Hampshire.

About 40-percent of that comes from just one power plant, Merrimack Station in Bow.

It burns coal.