Public Utilities Commission report suggests PSNH dump power plants
The company invested more than $400 million in pollution-control systems that went online in 2011 at the PSNH coal-fired plant in Bow, and would likely be facing substantial losses if it had to sell the plant. In addition to the 440-megawatt Bow plant, called Merrimack Station, the other power plants at issue are Schiller Station in Portsmouth, 150 megawatts with two coal boilers and one wood boiler; and Newington Station, 400 megawatts, which was built to burn oil and retrofitted in the early 1990s to burn a combination of oil and natural gas.
PSNH believes it can still demonstrate their economic value. "We will respond to this report in the manner directed by our regulators, and look forward to demonstrating the significant benefits PSNH's generation fleet provides to customers," said PSNH spokesman Martin Murray in a statement issued after the report was released.
"We do not share the view of PSNH, nor has the company in response to our requests provided any analysis confirming its view of fossil fleet value," they wrote. "Our analysis shows that the fossil units have very little market value."
"Right now, residential ratepayers are paying the majority of the cost for PSNH power plants, and the plants just are not economical," she said. "There are too many other lower-cost options in the market."
If PSNH is going to be forced to sell the power plants, the Legislature will likely have to become involved, Chamberlin said.
"The commissioners are trying to bring all the parties together," she said. "If they issued something on their own, and the Legislature didn't like it, the Legislature would just overturn it."
After that, the whole matter could end up in the courts anyway.
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