Little support on oversight committee to force PSNH to sell fossil fuel power plants
PSNH's Schiller Station in Portsmouth generates 150 megawatts of power in three boilers. Two burn coal or oil, the third burns wood chips. (PSNH photo)
While several members of the Electric Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee believe forcing Public Service of New Hampshire to sell its four fossil fuel plants is an option, no one wants to move forward anytime soon.
Bradley and several other committee members said state regulators will decide within a year how much Public Service's electric customers will have to pay for the new $430 million emission scrubber at the Merrimack Station coal-fired power plant in Bow. (See story above.)While regulators make their decision, customers are paying about 1 cent a kilowatt hour — and could pay as much as 3 cents per kwh — for the scrubber, which began operating about two years ago.
At Wednesday's meeting, a number of committee members said there are too many unknowns and not enough information to make a decision on whether to move forward with divestiture.
"The default service price is why we are all here today," Bradley said.
"When the legislature tries to micro-manage," she said, "I'm not sure they do the right thing."
Several committee members were concerned a totally deregulated market may not be sustainable if future power generation is dependent on investors building new power plants. Some questioned how the closing of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant next year would affect the future of New England's power grid.
The committee developed a list of questions members need answered before making any decisions. The next meeting of the oversight committee will be Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building.
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