July 15. 2017 9:31PM

A lousy electric bill: Concord not on ratepayers' side



New Hampshire ratepayers continue to pay among the highest electric rates in the country. At 16.02 cents per kilowatt hour, retail, that's well above the national average of 10.41 cents.

Which is why it was stunning to see Gov. Chris Sununu and the Legislature pass and allow to become law a bill that requires utilities to pay even more to subsidize solar and wood (biomass) power. We know that Sununu's veto pen works, so it's disappointing that he chose not to use it, letting Senate Bill 129 become law without his signature.

Perhaps Sununu was bowing to the inevitable. The bill sailed through the Senate on a voice vote, and passed the House with a veto-proof majority. But being governor means doing what is right, even when the Legislature has the votes to do something wrong. Sununu did not sign the bill, but he might as well have done so, since he let it become law.

Sununu no doubt wants to look good to North Country loggers and to solar greenies. But for a guy who insists New Hampshire is business-friendly and wants more to come to New Hampshire (along with their workers), letting SB 129 pass sends an unfriendly message.

Forcing the Legislature to override his veto would have forced its members to go on the record in support of increasing electric rates. As it is, the new law passed without anyone having to put fingerprints on it.

Decades ago, self-proclaimed environmentalists cost ratepayers millions of dollars with their nonsensical anti-nuclear efforts at Seabrook. They now oppose any efforts to bring down prices by allowing clean energy via natural gas pipelines or even hydropower.

But they will let us all pay millions of dollars above market rates for such projects as the Berlin biomass power plant, and subsidies and mandates for solar companies that ought to be competing on a level field with other suppliers. This is not in the interest of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire can not afford such green energy boondoggles any longer. Lowering electric rates must be a top priority when the Legislature comes back to Concord.