Governor meets with Dominion over big tax increase proposed for Millstone

Waterford —The operators of the Millstone nuclear power station, who have threatened to close the facility if a proposed tax on electricity generators gains approval, met with
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Friday.

The two working units at Millstone, owned by Dominion Resources Inc., of Richmond, Va., and comprise the only operational nuclear plant in Connecticut.

The legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee voted 12-9 last week to move forward a bill that would impose a tax on generators that use nuclear fuel, oil and coal, but not natural gas or other energy sources.

Dominion officials say the tax would be most burdensome on nuclear; of the total $340 million it is projected to raise, $330 million would come from Millstone.

“If this bill passes, the Millstone power station will not be economically viable to operate and it will be shut down,” said Dominion spokesman Ken Holt. "We are absolutely opposed to this tax. The cost would be passed on to the consumer in some way."

Colleen Flanagan, spokeswoman for Malloy, said Dominion officials met with the governor in his office Friday morning. She did not elaborate on the outcome.

“It was a very positive meeting,” she said. “It was a good meeting and an ongoing dialogue about energy issues in our state.

If the bill becomes law, Millstone would owe 2 cents per kilowatt hour generated, which the company says adds up to $330 million a year.

Plants that run on coal would be taxed one half of a cent per kilowatt hour and energy producers that run on oil would be charged one half of one-tenth of a cent.

The bill that passed the energy and technology committee provides for a much higher tax level than the governor proposed in his budget. His budget proposed a new tax of two-tenths of one cent per kilowatt hour that would apply to all electricity generators. Dominion estimates that proposal would have cost the Millstone station about $33 million a year.

"This bill is squarely aimed at Millstone," Holt said. "It's a large burden to place on any one company."

Holt said Millstone directly employs 1,080 people and 350 supplemental personnel. The facility is responsible for roughly $1.2 billion annually in economic benefits to Connecticut, he said.

The bill was referred today to the Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Dominion began notifying employees last week that the tax could force the facility to close. Holt said the company has asked employees to talk to their local legislators.

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