Debate: Who covers loss if PSNH sells its plants?
PSNH has poured more than $400 million on pollution-control measures at its Merrimack Station plant in Bow. (UNION LEADER FILE)
“I don’t think we need legislation,” Bradley said.
Committee Chairman Rep. David Borden, D-New Castle, said he filed legislation last week as a placeholder for whatever the committee decides, describing the bill as an attempt to “reduce any barriers that would prevent the PUC from ruling on divestiture.”
Meanwhile, the PUC has only allowed partial recovery of the scrubber costs through electric rates since the technology went online in 2011. The utility company has a case pending before the state Supreme Court, claiming the pollution controls were mandated by the state and it is entitled to full cost recovery from ratepayers.
Bradley hammered away at the notion that the final cost of the scrubber project was so far above the initial estimates that PSNH has to bear some responsibility. When first proposed, the cost was estimated at $250 million; the impact on electric bills was supposed to be three-tenths of a cent per kilowatt hour.
Consumers have been paying, but the utility has actually benefitted from the cost-overuns, Bradley pointed out. As a regulated utility, PSNH and its parent NU are guaranteed a return in the 9-percent range on capital investments. Getting that return on a $440 million investment has netted the utility $38 million a year, Bradley said.
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