Study: Millstone adds $1.2B a year to economy

The Millstone Power Station, which employs 1,080 people at its Waterford complex, generates $1.2 billion a year in economic benefits, including $122 million in capital spending and tax revenues of nearly $34 million, according to a study commissioned by owner Dominion.

Dominion has been touting the nuclear complex's economic impact in Connecticut to lawmakers as it continues to fight a plan to tax its production of electricity. The company is opposing a legislative proposal that would tax the electric output of Millstone at 2 cents a kilowatt hour, or as much as $335 million a year.

Dominion has said the tax, if passed, would force the company to shut down one, if not both, reactors. Millstone's two nuclear reactors generate 2,100 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to supply about 500,000 homes.

The economic impact study by Chmura Economics & Analytics of Richmond, Va., was completed in late March. Dominion periodically reviews Millstone's economic impact on the community and decided to seek revisions of outdated figures when the tax proposal was introduced "so that we had current numbers to talk about when discussing the bill," said company spokesman Ken Holt.

"It's absolutely valuable to (Connecticut)," state Rep. Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, said of the study. "When we look at tax policy, you have to evaluate the economic impacts. These are big numbers, so I think it needs to be part of the discussion."

Chmura found in its study that Millstone operations produce about $1.1 billion in economic benefits to the state each year, which supports 3,315 jobs. The company's capital spending alone at Millstone produces about $122 million annually in economic benefits and supports another 915 jobs, the report stated.

The study looked at both direct impact, such as jobs at the plant, as well as indirect and "induced" impacts, such as products from suppliers and workers spending their earnings as consumers.

In total, the study found that Millstone supports 4,230 jobs a year.

Over the past three years, Dominion has invested an average of $90 million annually at Millstone and is likely to continue to invest similar amounts, Chmura found.

In addition, the nuclear complex generates as much as $33.6 million a year in state and local taxes. Those estimates are conservative, relying only on tax revenues from direct impacts, according to the study consultant.

The analysis "clearly demonstrates that Millstone has a huge impact on Connecticut's economy as a whole - especially on the local area," said Holt. "Not only does the station directly support the community with spending and jobs, but that spending also creates jobs in the community."

Waterford First Selectman Dan Steward said earlier this week that Dominion represents about 30 percent of the town's tax base. The uncertainty surrounding the tax and the potential plant shutdown may already be costing the town money as it issues bonds for school projects, he said.

p.daddona@theday.com

Millstone Economic Impact

• Capital spending: $122 million

• Ongoing operation: $1.1 billion

• Employment: 4,230 jobs direct, indirect

• Tax revenues: $33.6 million

Source: Chmura Economics & Analytics, Richmond, Va.

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