By Judy Reardon

 Today’s reporting that Eversource and Hydro-Quebec are at odds over who will pay for the multi-billion dollar Northern Pass transmission line brings back to the forefront the mysterious and unanswered question that has hung over this project since its inception: Just who is going to pay the massive cost for building the 192 miles of tower and lines that will cut across New Hampshire?

Eversource has promised over and over that no one in New Hampshire will pay a nickel for the transmission line, even including this promise on its website. Eversource says, don’t worry, customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut and Hydro-Quebec, will bear the entire cost.  

If that sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.

Just yesterday, Hydro-Quebec issued a statement, indicating very clearly that it has no intention of paying for any of the cost of the transmission line in New Hampshire.

Who pays?   You and me.    Hydro-Quebec’s statement leaves no doubt:  

These are American consumers who will pay the cost of transport

in their territory through their electricity rates.”

 This afternoon Eversource says, yeah, Hydro-Quebec is only going to pay for the Canadian portion of the transmission line, but, don’t worry, we will get unsuspecting Massachusetts ratepayers to pay for the New Hampshire portion of the line.  Eversource really said that.  http://blog.northernpass.us/2017/03/09/understanding-northern-pass-cost-recovery/

Based on past experience it’s impossible to believe Eversource that no one in New Hampshire will pay for the construction of the Northern Pass transmission line. This is the same company that just a few years ago got approval from state government to update its coal-burning plant in Bow based on its representation it would cost $250 million. No surprise, it cost $422 million, and New Hampshire ratepayers are footing the bill. Oh, and the estimated market value of that plant is now $10 million.    Not a great deal for ratepayers.

This is also the same company that 30 years ago promised us it could build a nuclear power plant in New Hampshire that would generate power so inexpensive it wouldn’t even need to be metered. Well, we all know how that turned out. Building the Seabrook nuclear power plant bankrupted PSNH, resulting in it being owned by a Connecticut energy giant, and we ratepayers are paying the so-called “stranded costs” for PSNH’s risky investment.  Another lousy deal for ratepayers.

PSNH can change its name to Eversource, but it can’t change its history of shifting the cost of risky investments to New Hampshire families and businesses. There’s no reason to believe them now about who will pay for Northern Pass.   You and I will pay the bill – but only if we allow Northern Pass to succeed.

 

A New Hampshire native, Judy Reardon has over 30 years of experience in government, law and politics. She has served as Chief Legal Counsel to US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Legal Counsel to then-Gov. Shaheen, where she worked extensively on the restructuring of New Hampshire's electric industry. Judy also served two terms in the New Hampshire State House of Representatives.