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PSNH may be mulling divestiture of coal-fired plants
In 2006, the Legislature ordered that the pollution control devices be installed at Merrimack Station. According to the PSNH appeal, "From 2008 through 2012, the PUC issued multiple decisions expressly finding that PSNH was required to build the scrubber."
"Now, nearly two years after the scrubber was completed, the PUC has concluded that installation of the scrubber was not mandated, that it has the authority to determine whether PSNH failed to exercise prudent management discretion by building the scrubber," the appeal claims. "The PUC's actions are so arbitrary and capricious that they deny PSNH due process of law and have turned this matter into a political football."
"The state made a law and the company had to comply and make its best effort," she said, "but the company also has an obligation not to spend money foolishly and to monitor the marketplace, and to monitor everything that would have an impact on their rates, and keep the Legislature and PUC informed. They didn't do that. You can argue if they had done that, the decisions would have been different."
"The Supreme Court may in its discretion decline or accept an appeal of an order of an administrative agency, or may summarily dispose of such an appeal," she said. "But we don't have a final order. I don't think this (appeal) has much of a chance of success, but we're still trying to puzzle through how to respond to it."
A governmental affairs representative from PSNH recently met with lawmakers to discuss a way out of the deadlock, triggering speculation at an energy conference in Concord on Monday that the PSNH position is shifting.
"I think what's going on here is they (PSNH) are laying down a marker on the recovery of costs," he said. "If they do move forward with divestiture, they expect to recover every penny from the sale of the assets."
"It's been characterized as a mandate, but I think it was more of a partnership," he said, "because everyone including PSNH supported it. When we talk about cost recovery, there should be some sharing of that burden."email@example.com
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