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2 out of 3: Sununu vetoes rate-raising bills

June 20. 2018 10:21PM

Gov. Chris Sununu stood up for New Hampshire ratepayers and the Granite State’s economic well-being in vetoing a pair of bills this week that would increase the state’s already astronomical electric rates.

Senate Bill 365 would require utilities to purchase power from six biomass plants at above-market rates, forcing ratepayers to pay the difference. These businesses already receive massive state and federal subsidies, and should not get another one. The cost of this bill alone is estimated at $30 million. Every dime would end up on New Hampshire electric bills.

Senate Bill 446 would expand the state’s net metering program, which allows homes and businesses with solar power to sell excess electricity back to the grid.

Net metering could work, but the bill would allow generators to buy power at regulated rates, and sell it back at the same price when demand is low. Any expansion should reimburse generators at the spot rate when the power is sold, so as not to shift costs to ratepayers without solar power.

The Legislature should uphold Sununu’s vetoes on these costly energy mandates.

The governor has yet to act on House Bill 577, which would expand the mandate for Eversource to purchase above-market power from the Burgess biomass plant in Berlin. We renew our recommendation for Sununu to veto this costly bill as well. Ratepayers are already on the hook for $100 million in subsidies to Burgess, and should not be forced to pay even more.

Electric rates remain a key hurdle to economic development in New Hampshire. The Legislature should stop passing bills that make it worse.

Energy State Government Editorial

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