Eversource finalizes sale of energy plantsBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
January 10. 2018 9:08PM
MANCHESTER — Eversource NH officials announced Wednesday the utility has completed the sale of fossil-fuel generation plants to Granite Shore Power LLC, a partnership between Atlas Holdings of Greenwich, Conn., and Castleton Commodities International of Stamford, Conn.
Merrimack Station in Bow, Newington Station in Newington, Schiller Station in Portsmouth, and combustion turbines in Groveton and Tamworth will continue operations under new ownership.
“Today marks a milestone in the deregulation of the electric utility industry in the Granite State,” said Eversource NH President Bill Quinlan in a statement. “We will soon close on the related sale of our hydroelectric facilities and join other New England utilities by obtaining the energy we need to serve our customers from the competitive regional energy market. Importantly, the sale of our generation facilities honors commitments made to employees and communities where the facilities are located, ensuring a smooth transition.”
On Nov. 28, 2017, the state’s Public Utilities Commission approved Eversource selling three large fossil-fuel generation plants and two combustion turbines for $175 million, part of a push to deregulate the state’s electricity market. At the time Donald Kreis, the state’s consumer advocate, said Eversource customers who buy power from Eversource should see some reduction in their bills due to the sale and another deal to sell off hydroelectric assets.
Under the sale agreements, the new owners must keep the plants in service for at least 18 months, and must honor a comprehensive employee benefits package established by Eversource and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, according to a release. Eversource will also provide three years of tax stabilization payments to communities where a power plant may be sold for less than its assessed value.
In 2016, the PUC established an auction process to sell the fossil-fuel plants. J.P. Morgan, which oversaw the auction, contacted 182 potential buyers as part of its outreach.
The first round garnered 25 bids. The second round was cut to 16 bidders before J.P. Morgan received seven final bids: three for the entire portfolio and four for one or more assets, according to PUC order. After the bidding, J.P. Morgan recommended going forward with two bidders, resulting in the sale of the plants to Granite Shore Power LLC.
Granite Shore Power LLC, plans to offer jobs to 80 percent of the current 184 Eversource workforce at the plants included in the $175 million sale, according to the PUC.