NH Consumer Advocate Demands Transparency On Price of Northern Pass Power

New Hampshire Consumer Advocate Donald Kreis is contesting a request by Eversource Energy to keep the price it pays for power from the Northern Pass transmission line confidential, according to a report by the Concord Monitor released on July 12.

“In any contract for the purchase of goods or services, the key term is the price,” Kreis told the news outlet. “It’s especially important here.”

At issue is a leasing agreement between Eversource and Northern Pass Transmission, filed at the Public Utilities Commission (Docket No. DE 15-464) for approval last month.

The deal secures 10 percent of the 1,000-megawatt (MW) of power expected to be transmitted over the Northern Pass line for Eversource customers – when and if the controversial line is built, according to the news outlet.

The 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) is “expected to produce economic benefits” for New Hampshire customers that exceed $1 billion in energy cost savings, Eversource said.

However, the utility refuses to disclose the price it will pay. Indeed, the documents Eversource filed at the PUC are heavily redacted, and all information about cost has been blacked out.

Kreis is asking the PUC to unseal the information because he said customers have a “pressing” interest to scrutinize the details. Ratepayers will be responsible for the deal whether it proves beneficial or not, Kreis told the Concord Monitor.

For its part, Eversource, formerly Public Service of New Hampshire, contends that the pricing should remain confidential because public disclosure could damage its ability to attract negotiating partners in the future. Indeed, Eversource said that it had promised price confidentiality in its contract with HydroQuebec, and revealing the information could harm the ability to sell its remaining power on the competitive market.

Kreis has read the unredacted documents, but can’t speak freely about their contents unless the PUC rules to make the information public. The commissioners have yet to issue a decision.

Northern Pass plans to construct a 200-mile transmission line through New Hampshire that would run mostly overhead from Pittsburg to Deerfield.

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