PUC Asked To Clarify Rules On Relationship Between Northern Pass And PSNH

Sep 15, 2014

Credit Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

A group representing power plants all over New England has asked regulators to weigh in whether Northern Pass is receiving inappropriate subsidies from Public Service of New Hampshire.

At issue is what’s the definition of a “competitive affiliate.” These are companies that the utility owns, and which provide similar services. The New England Power Generators Association or NEPGA, a group that represents PSNH competitors and opposes Northern Pass, argues in a filing submitted to regulators at the Public Utilities Commssion on Monday that is what Northern Pass is to PSNH.

"By now blending these two together, as we believe is happening between Northern Pass and PSNH, Consumers are subsidizing the merchant transmission project of Northern Pass, through the rate regulated cost of the utility in PSNH," says Dan Dolan, NEPGA’s president. Specifically he points to the access Northern Pass gets to PSNH rights-of-way; how it pays for labor from PSNH employees at cost, and how it can tuck Northern Pass mailers into PSNH customers’ bills.

Public Service declined to give an interview, but in an email called the NEPGA filing a publicity stunt. They point out that last year, PUC staff issued a preliminary finding on this question in their favor.

But today Dolan’s group is asking the regulator for clarity. If the PUC were to agree with NEPGA, PSNH would have to offer the same services it provides Northern Pass to any other power line developer.