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CT Consumers Oppose Subsidy Without Disclosure

In a survey, 87 percent of Connecticut residents said Dominion Power should open its books to the public and state legislators. ( Commons)
In a survey, 87 percent of Connecticut residents said Dominion Power should open its books to the public and state legislators. ( Commons)
January 18, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – A new poll shows a majority of Connecticut voters want the owners of the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant to open their books before any subsidy is approved. Dominion Power says it has seen a 44-percent decline in prices for its power over the past ten years.

Legislators are looking for ways for Dominion to get long-term contracts to sell power directly to Connecticut utilities at a fixed price.

But, John Erlingheuser, advocacy director for AARP Connecticut says his group's survey of residents 45 and older shows they want Dominion to demonstrate the need and show their losses first.

"If they're not willing to do that, then residents in Connecticut overwhelmingly object to anything that would subsidize their bottom line," he said.

Legislators say keeping Millstone operating is critical to reaching the state's goal of getting 20 percent of its power from carbon-free sources by 2020.

But Erlingheuser points out that, under the deregulation power-generating companies had asked for, Millstone electricity is sold on the New England regional market, not just in Connecticut.

"So, if there really is an issue with the nuclear power plants in the region not making enough of a profit, then maybe we need to have a regional solution, not a solution borne on the backs of Connecticut ratepayers," he explained.

AARP's survey found more than three-quarters of respondents feel any approved subsidy should be spread across all the New England States.

Erlingheuser says if Dominion wants to be assured of a reasonable profit above expenses, then it should have to play by the same rules as other utility companies.

"If they want guaranteed payment, then they need to have a regulated system where they're obligated to demonstrate need, cost, expenses and their books open for public inspection," he added.

Erlingheuser stresses that adding a subsidy would burden Connecticut consumers, who already pay electric rates among the highest in the country.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT