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News Mar 20, 2017 - 2:54:49 PM

AARP, Consumer & Environmental Groups Oppose Senate Bill Awarding Special Deals for Dominion Resources

By AARP Connecticut

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AARP Connecticut, Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG), Connecticut Public Interest Research Group (ConnPIRG), Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE), Acadia Center and advocacy groups joined at Connecticut’s Legislative Office Building in Hartford today in opposition to Senate Bill 106, legislation that would create a process guaranteeing a higher price for the electricity Dominion Resources currently sells on the New England wholesale competitive market through its Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford.

Virginia-based Dominion Resources claims the Millstone Nuclear Power Station is unprofitable and is seeking legislation to compensate for the losses. The legislation, as presented in public statements, would reclassify the power generated by the plant as renewable fuel, allowing Dominion to undercut the cost of other renewable fuels and receive a significantly higher price for their power, therefore raising overall rates. A special deal that subsidizes profits, without any financial disclosures to prove it is necessary, puts all of the risk on the Connecticut ratepayers.

“Dominion is claiming the bill will provide lower rates for consumers,” said John Erlingheuser, AARP Connecticut director of advocacy. “AARP is focused solely on rates, but why would a publicly traded company that is supposedly losing money want to get lower rates, thus lowering their profits for the shareholders expecting a high return for their investment? Any proposed special deal for Dominion must first require them to disclose a loss in profits to regulators and ratepayers. SB 106 requires no such disclosure.”
Tom Swan, CCAG executive director, added, “Dominion wants a special deal from Connecticut legislators without having to prove the financial need for one, when they already have contracts to supply energy from Millstone for at least five more years and sell their energy on a regional basis, not just in Connecticut. We will not allow Connecticut consumers be bamboozled into thinking we will save money just because they say the check is in the mail.”

ConnPIRG State Director Kate Cohen said, "This bill would boost profits for Dominion on the backs of ratepayers, all the while propping up old dirty technologies and undercutting renewable energy like wind and solar in the process. Instead, we should be encouraging continued rapid growth of the cleaner, safer and cheaper renewable energy sources to meet our energy needs."

Claire Coleman, a climate and energy attorney for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment added, “Despite the bill title’s talk of meeting climate goals, Senate Bill 106 would redefine old, nuclear sources as ‘clean energy’ and give Dominion a special deal at the expense of cutting-edge, truly renewable technologies. Connecticut’s future lies in clean, safe, locally-produced energy like wind and solar, not nuclear plants that cause more problems than they solve. Connecticut’s leaders should not put renewables at risk, and ratepayers on the hook; they should say no to the Millstone subsidy.”

Bill Dornbos, CT director & senior attorney at Acadia Center, said, “We need to protect Connecticut’s consumers, our economy and the environment. A special deal for Millstone Power Station will not only make energy more costly for all Connecticut residents and businesses, but it will also interfere with the transition to renewables like increasingly cost-competitive solar and wind. We urge the General Assembly to set aside Senate Bill 106 and turn its attention to developing the long-term renewables ramp-up we urgently need.”

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