Blog : Eversource Sells PSNH Power Plants and Steps Toward Clean Energy

By Corey | Mar 26, 2015 | in

Eversource Energy, which recently bought-out Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), will sell the former company's power plants throughout the state. Through this agreement, Eversource agrees to sell PSNH's hydro facilities and fossil fuel plants including the Merrimack Station in Bow, the Newington Station in Newington, and the Schiller Station in Portsmouth. By selling these plants, customers are no longer expected to be responsible for paying the continued operation of the plants and the costly investments to meet environmental standards. Customers will also no longer pay the existing regulated rate of return on plants.

Closing the plants, which contain mercury and burn fossil-fuels, has long been the goal of environmentalists throughout the state.

Susan Chamberlin, the Consumer Advocate for the Office of the Consumer Advocate in New Hampshire, stated that the agree “provides significant savings for residential taxpayers and resolves outstanding disputes without protracted litigation."

However, according to a report by NHPR, if the sale price for the plants is too low, it could cause their assessed value to drop significantly, causing a large amount of loss of tax revenue in Bow and Portsmouth.

The sale agreement includes a protection plan for the 280 unionized employees, non-represented affected employees and towns in which the plants are located. Buyers must also agree to keep the plant in service for at least 18 months following the purchase and honor existing Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Eversource shareholders will provide $5 million to capitalize a clean energy fund which will target investments in energy efficiency and distributed generation projects, like solar energy resources. In neighboring Maine, the Maine Public Utilities Commission released a study that gives quantitative value for solar power produced in Maine. It confirms that solar power provides enormous value to Maine people and energy users through energy diversity and environmental and health benefits. Customers of Eversource Energy are expected to save at least $300 million due to the sale of the power plants.

The closure of fossil fuel plants, in particular, is a huge step toward a potential increase of more energy efficient practices and increase in renewable energy. The environmental benefits from decreased air pollution of power plants will subsequently provide significant health benefits as it will reduce air and water pollution. Some could argue that Eversource’s shocking move to sell their plants is the ripping of the band-aid in the process to push New Hampshire further into the clean energy market.