Electric utility asks court to reconsider pipeline decision

By The Associated Press

New Hampshire's largest utility has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a decision by regulators denying its proposal to buy natural gas pipeline capacity to be used to create electricity.

 

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's largest utility has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a decision by regulators denying its proposal to buy natural gas pipeline capacity to be used to create electricity.

The gas would be made available by the expansion of an existing pipeline and used to power New England's electric generating stations.

Eversource says it has estimated significant customer savings in electricity costs if the gas pipeline expansion project takes place and relieves existing pipeline constraints. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission decided in October that the proposal has the potential to reduce costs, but it said the agreement isn't allowed as a result of restrictions enacted in the state's 1996 electric restructuring law.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in August that utilities can't pass on to ratepayers the costs of financing new natural gas pipelines.

Eversource says the overriding purpose of the restructuring of New Hampshire's electric utilities was to reduce electricity rates and, therefore, proposals that would reduce customer energy costs should not be restricted.

"We've been hearing loud and clear from business and residential customers about the need to lower and stabilize prices," said Bill Quinlan, New Hampshire operations president for Eversource. "Expanding the supply of gas into New England is one of the necessary actions that must occur as part of the effort to reduce energy costs and ensure reliability. We believe it's important that proposals like this one have the opportunity to be fully considered."

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