Ban on ratepayer funding for pipelines?

Mar 06, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

This week the New Hampshire House will vote on a bill that would forbid electricity companies from charging ratepayers for new gas pipelines.

The bill, HB 179, is prompted by a court case.  Earlier this year the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) denied a request from Eversource to enter a twenty-year contract to purchase natural gas from a new pipeline, with the costs covered by an increase in the electricity rate for Eversource customers.  Eversource is appealing the PUC decision to the state Supreme Court. 

HB 179 would prohibit any tax or fee on ratepayers to finance a gas pipeline. 

Bill supporters argue that even though there is a shortage of natural gas in New England, ratepayers should not be saddled with a twenty year contract to build more pipeline.  New Hampshire’s electricity rates are already some of the highest in the nation.  Ratepayers are also still paying back costs for the construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant and the pollution scrubber in Bow.

Bill opponents argue that the bill is unnecessary because the PUC already ruled against Eversource’s attempt to charge ratepayers for a pipeline. 

Other bill opponents argue that ratepayers should contribute to pipeline construction to increase the supply of natural gas in New England.  A shortage of natural gas has led to price spikes for natural gas heating and electricity.

Do you support HB 179?  Share your opinion in the comments.

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