Dominion calls letter 'misleading'

Dominion Energy has sent a letter to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislative leaders contesting assertions made by eight fossil fuel generators and energy distribution companies that legislation designed to help the Millstone Power Station in Waterford should not advance.

In its July 7 letter, Dominion calls the opponents’ letter “misleading” and states that claims made by them are false. At issue is a proposed bill that supporters contend would help stabilize the nuclear power plant against volatile energy prices and preserve the state’s largest producer of carbon emissions free power. The fossil fuel generators and energy distributors argue in their letter that the bill would instead undermine the growth of renewable energy in the state and is not necessary. Signers of that letter, sent last week, were: Avangrid, Dynegy, Calpine Corp., Electric Power Supply Association, Competitive Power Ventures, Eversource Energy, Connecticut Petroleum Council, and NRG Energy.

The bill passed in the state Senate during the regular session but died in the House of Representatives. Supporters, though, are hoping it can be revived in an upcoming special session of the Legislature.

In its letter, Dominion states that an MIT report cited in the opponents’ letter was mischaracterized as providing evidence against the bill.

“What our opponents fail to mention is that of the top 10 most profitable plants over the next three years according to the author’s assumptions, six of them have already announced premature retirements due to unfavorable economics,” the Dominion letter, signed by Paul Koonce, chief executive officer of Dominion’s Power Generation Group, states. “Connecticut should not take solace that Millstone is one of the remaining four plants in the author’s top 10 most profitable that has not announced an early retirement yet.”

Dominion also faults the earlier letter for asserting that Connecticut ratepayers would be “on the hook for $300 million each year” for support to Millstone.

“Why didn’t they cite the report?” Koonce’s letter asks. “How could anyone come up with a figure if they do not know what Millstone would bid in the process? What we know is that the proposed legislative language would have created a competitive solicitation for power. Millstone would have been allowed to compete. If state regulators determined Millstone’s bid was a good deal for ratepayers it could have been selected. If not, they would reject it. Dominion is confident Connecticut’s energy regulators would protect ratepayers from a $300 million surcharge.”

The Dominion letter also points out that, contrary to the earlier letter’s assertions, the company can retire Millstone early under its agreement with ISO-New England, the regional electricity transmission organization.

 j.benson@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects an error in the earlier version about the source of the original letter.

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