In NH Public Utilities Commission Docket No. DE 16-241, Public Service Company of New Hampshire, doing business as Eversource Energy (“Eversource”), seeks approval of a 20-year interstate CAPACITY contract (transportation and storage) for natural gas and asks permission to pass the related costs onto NH citizens in the form of a tariff on the bills of all electric rate payers for the duration of the contract, whether or not the gas is actually used.
Eversource also requests confidential treatment of the evidence it offers in support of its application. If granted, their request would deny the public important information it needs to evaluate the relative pros and cons of the proposed contract and additional charges. The public requires access to all submitted information in order to assess whether claims by Eversource are just, reasonable and in the public interest, as required for approval.
The outcome of DE 16-241 will affect all New Hampshire electric ratepayers, and all New Hampshire citizens. The precedent that DE 16-241 would create allows utilities access to ratepayer funds for the purpose of locking in a 20-year dependence of fossil fuel generated energy. This precedent also sets up ratepayers to assume all the financial risks involved in building the project, so that private utility shareholders bear none. All NH citizens could be impacted by a 20-year commitment to fossil fuel generated energy.
It is in the public’s best interest that NH be able to diversify its energy portfolio as energy alternatives become available, and locking the state into a 20-year fossil fuel commitment diminishes that ability. At the very least, the public has the right to review and challenge what they would be paying for now and over the next 20 years.
We hereby oppose the Eversource requests to 1) lock NH into a 20-year gas pipeline capacity contract, and 2) require ratepayers to fund construction of said gas pipelines, and 3) allow confidential treatment of material submitted in the proceeding. We ask that the PUC immediately require full disclosure of any and all information currently and subsequently offered in support of the underlying petition in DE 16-241. Additionally, we believe that it would be in the public interest for the PUC to ultimately deny all of the Eversource requests referenced above.
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