By Kari Williamson
Sandi Hennequin, Vice President of NEPGA, says: “The Northern Pass Project is seeking special treatment and seeks to use the regulatory process to gain unfair advantages in the marketplace. This project is still, very much, in its formative stages. It is not much more than a lot of paper work and lines on a map, so there is plenty of opportunity to fix it.
“NEPGA is not opposed to the project per se, however, the Northern Pass Project is very controversial, and we appreciate that there is strong opposition. We do believe that the Northern Pass Project needs to follow the same rules as its competitors and operate on a level playing field.”
NEPGA outlines four main areas of concern:
- Eminent Domain: NEPGA is opposed to the project’s request to use eminent domain to take private property along the proposed route.
- Potentially Changes Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards: Representatives of the Northern Pass Project have suggested that they would want to change state laws to allow power from their project to qualify as renewable under Renewable Portfolio Standard programmes. NEPGA is opposed to making these changes as they are unnecessary and would undermine much of the economic underpinnings of the RPS strategy by exporting ratepayers’ dollars from the RPS outside of New England.
- Sole-Source, No-Bid Contracting: PSNH is proposing that New Hampshire state law be changed and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approve a 40-year power purchase agreement that will allow them to enter into a no-bid, sole-source contract with NPTP to purchase power and supply their default service customers. NEPGA opposes sole-source, no-bid contracting and has concerns regarding the appropriateness of PSNH contracting with a project in which they and their affiliates have commercial interest.
- Subsidies from Regulated Utilities: NEPGA is concerned about the special treatment that NPTP receives from PSNH. It would be better for the process if PSNH removed itself from its ties to the NPTP and instead more properly focused on its role as a distribution utility.
Hennequin concludes: “The New England Power Generators Association plans to increase our regulatory and legislative advocacy surrounding the Northern Pass Transmission Project to ensure that a level playing field is maintained. We expect increased legislative, federal and state regulatory developments to ramp up in the months to come. In the end, the process would be better served if NPTP were to alter its structure and not seek special treatment. However, should the project proceed as proposed, NEPGA will actively participate in the policy and regulatory processes.”