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July 12. 2013 12:53PM

PSNH chief steps down to focus on Northern Pass project

HARTFORD, Conn. ­— Gary A. Long is stepping down as president of Public Service of New Hampshire, effective Aug. 1, to focus on the Northern Pass hydroelectric project as an executive of Northeast Utilities, chief developer of the project in cooperation with PSNH and Hydro-Quebec.

Long has been name president of New Hampshire Renewable Energy Policy Development for Northeast Utilities, according to a PSNH statement issued on Friday.

"What that means in the short term is a couple of things," said Martin Murray, PSNH spokesman. "The immediate focus will be on successfully seeing the Northern Pass project through its permitting process. He is extremely eager and excited to see that project through, and remains absolutely committed to it in terms of benefit that he expects it to deliver to New Hampshire and New England."

Long hosted a press conference just two weeks ago to unveil a new route for the controversial project designed to bring hydroelectric power from Quebec into the New England power grid, via New Hampshire.

"The role with Northern Pass is one that to a certain extent he already has and will continue to have, but this will allow him to emphasize it even more," said Murray. "What goes away is the day-to-day oversight that is necessary to run the basic PSNH operations."

PSNH Vice President of Energy Delivery Paul Ramsey, a native of Berlin, has been named interim president. Ramsey, who joined PSNH in 1975, currently oversees the planning, engineering, and construction and maintenance of the company's electrical distribution system.

Long, 62, has led the state's largest utility for the past 13 years and has been with the company for nearly four decades. He was a principal architect of electric utility restructuring in New Hampshire following the passage of the state's electric utility restructuring law in 1996.

"The tremendous benefit that New Hampshire has in terms of Gary is really his intellectual curiosity," Murray said. "He's not your typical CEO that might get stuck with what works. He is constantly looking for what else we can do. In this new role, besides focusing on Northern Pass, we expect there may be other opportunities ahead as regards renewable energy. With so much focus today on carbon reduction and a continued calls for new sources of renewable energy, Gary has tremendous expertise that can be taken advantage of to help New Hampshire move forward."

Long, 62, is an electrical engineer by training, who rose up the ranks at PSNH from an assistant engineer, to hold various positions in the areas of marketing, customer service, regulatory affairs, governmental relations, corporate communications, economic development and rates.

"PSNH has been a very important part of my life and career over the last 37 years, and I am truly grateful to all my colleagues at PSNH and NU and all those in the state who have made it an exciting and fulfilling experience for me, particularly during the past 13 years as president," Long said. "I look forward to now focusing on the advancement of the Northern Pass project, which I believe will provide unique and critical value to PSNH customers, the state of New Hampshire, and the New England region for future decades, and providing guidance and leadership on important energy policy issues."

dsolomon@unionleader.com



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