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A trashy deal: Incinerator sneaks into biomass bill

October 11. 2018 7:31PM

Unitil customers will be paying $1.6 million per year in higher rates in order to subsidize the Penacook trash incinerator.

Most of the attention on the override of Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of Senate Bill 365 was on the six wood-burning power plants that would receive above-market rates for their power under the bill. But the same deal also applies to the former Wheelabrator plant, which was sold to a private investment firm, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, shortly after Sununu’s veto was overridden.

The plant’s selling price was not disclosed, but surely the additional ratepayer subsidy guarantees by state law increased its value.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly excoriated Sununu for the veto, saying that he would cost the state jobs. But she’s less enthusiastic about the incinerator. Do jobs in Penacook not count?

Once politicians start picking winners and losers in the energy market, these shenanigans are inevitable. If lawmakers can prop up one set of power plants, another will show up at the State House looking for similar favors.

Sununu was right to oppose SB 365, which will cost New Hampshire ratepayers. The bill was a trashy deal even before the incinerator was included.

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