Don't put customers on the hook for pipeline costs
If you get an electric bill every month, hold onto your wallets. Recently introduced Senate Bill 128 will change existing law and allow EverSource to pass on to electric ratepayers the costs associated with building natural gas infrastructure.
Our new governor has made no secret of his love for natural gas and pipelines. He has stated publicly that he hopes Kinder Morgan will apply again for approval to build a massive pipeline across the state. The new Legislature supports his ambitions.
While infrastructure companies such as Kinder Morgan like to say they can afford to build these expensive and dangerous pipelines without taxpayer funds, the fact is that they can’t. These pipelines cost billions of dollars and the balance sheets of many of these companies show they cannot afford such investments. While very little of the new piped natural gas would actually be available to us in New Hampshire (most of it is aimed at the export market) SB 128 would have New Hampshire residents paying for the build-out and shouldering the enormous risk associated with this level of investment in fossil fuels. We would be paying for this infrastructure for decades to come.
Already embedded in your electric bill are stranded costs we are still paying to cover previous poor EverSource investments: Seabrook II and the coal scrubber for our coal-burning plant, to name just two. SB 128 would allow EverSource to add even more costs to those and ask us to shoulder the expenses and risks of this massive commitment to fossil fuel infrastructure, just as renewable energy sources are replacing fossil fuels throughout the world.
Capitalism is based on the principle that those who take the risks are rewarded with the profits. SB 128 turns capitalism on its head by asking the people to shoulder costs and take enormous risk, while the profits go to the corporation.
It is not too late to inform yourself and take a stand. Last week, the governor proudly touted his budget, which involved no new taxes. But if this ill-conceived bill passes, you will pay what amounts to a large tax for electricity. Call, email or write to your state representatives and senators. Tell them you don’t want to pay for already outmoded and dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure. Tell them you don’t want them to support SB 128 ... that you don’t feel ratepayers should be forced to take on business risk that rightly belongs with the companies who will reap the profits. This is an outrage!
Susan's letter to the Editor of the Keene Sentinel