Dominion Energy – a company headquartered in Virginia – is asking Connecticut residents and businesses to pay more – through what is effectively a tax on your electric bill – to keep its Millstone nuclear plant afloat — even though it hasn’t produced any evidence that it needs the money.
Rather than working to reduce Connecticut’s energy costs, Dominion is asking state legislators to provide a guaranteed revenue stream for the Millstone Nuclear Power Station. If approved, Senate Bill 106, now under consideration in the Connecticut General Assembly, would force customers of Eversource Energy and United Illuminating to pay millions more for the same energy they are already receiving from Millstone Station.
We know that keeping energy costs stable and affordable is important to our customers and the state legislature. So why, now, would they consider passing a bill that favors the bottom line of one company over the household budgets of millions of residents?
Dominion has made a number of claims and have played to fears of some state officials about the closing of facilities, lost jobs and evaporating tax revenues.
State legislators’ concerns about jobs and tax revenues are well intentioned. But there is no evidence they are justified. To add insult to injury, Dominion Energy has been unwilling to open its books to the Connecticut Legislature, regulators or the governor’s office and show the level of transparency necessary in a dire situation. And the current proposed legislation fails to require that Dominion provide any proof of financial need or hardship
Transparency is a key in maintaining fair and reasonable energy costs. It is what we have to do as regulated utilities and why we must provide volumes of financial and business information through documents and public hearings for any proposed change in our distribution rates. Connecticut and its customers expect and deserve that same transparency from any other company advocating for a policy that could increase energy costs.
When considering Dominion’s threats of closing facilities or losing jobs, it’s important to realize that the company already has long-term contracts that require it to provide power to the region’s customers, including Connecticut’s, for at least the next five years.
Besides that, Dominion is eligible for financial support from ISO New England, the operator of the New England electric grid, because its electric base load is considered essential to the stability of the region’s power grid. Any costs for this support would be paid for by all customers in New England – not just those in Connecticut. However, to obtain this support, Dominion must show that Millstone is in fact experiencing a true financial hardship.
To date, Dominion has gone to great lengths to avoid demonstrating hardship, raising the question of whether it really needs an infusion of money from Connecticut residents and businesses.
We urge Connecticut’s legislators to consider the negative impact this legislation will have on the budgets of Connecticut residents and businesses. This is an avoidable disaster that will negatively impact our customers and our state for years to come.
Craig Hallstrom is the President of Electric Operations for Eversource Energy. Tony Marone is President and CEO of the United Illuminating Company.