Report: PSNH Plants Would Be Worth Little On Open Market

Apr 2, 2014

An independent assessment commissioned by electrical regulators has released a preliminary report that finds some of Public Service of New Hampshire’s fossil-fired plants hold little market value. The report agrees with what staff at the Public Utilities Commission said last year.

According to La Capra Associates, a Boston based energy consulting firm, all of PSNH’s power plants together would be worth about $225 million on the open market, less than a third of what PSNH says they are worth.

Most of the value comes from hydro-electric plants, and Newington Station which can burn natural gas. The coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow and Schiller Station in Portsmouth – which can burn coal, oil or wood – were estimated to be worth only a fraction of their value on the books.

LaCapra estimates that compared to a $500 million "book value" Merrimack station would sell for somewhere around $10 million, or 2% of it's value. Schiller Station could see a similar mark down, at 6.5% of it's value.
Credit LaCapra Associates

The report led the staff at the PUC to double down on its 2013 conclusion that over the long term PSNH’s rates will be above the market unless the power plants are sold.

In a statement PSNH responds that the report is trying to predict the future, and is “highly dependent on a number of issues that are uncertain and difficult to predict.”

A bill that would direct regulators to complete an investigation of whether to sell, or possibly close, PSNH’s plants is working its way through the New Hampshire legislature.