Last year, Connecticut’s General Assembly passed a bipartisan bill that offers the potential of lowering electricity costs for Connecticut’s ratepayers. The bill authorized energy regulators to conduct a competitive auction for carbon-free resources if they determined it was necessary. The bill created a path forward for Connecticut to meet its energy, environmental and economic goals. Importantly, the bill also would potentially protect Millstone Power Station, the source of 50% of the state’s power and 90% of its carbon free electricity and 1500 jobs, by allowing it to compete in the competitive auction too.
Unfortunately, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), is charting a different course than the legislation directed. The legislature directed DEEP to conduct a competitive auction for zero carbon electricity and to allow Millstone to participate, if regulators determined that it was necessary. They made the determination in February that it was necessary.
Now, after beginning the process, DEEP is unilaterally changing the legislative intent of the law by inserting language into the draft Request for Proposals that would essentially exclude Millstone’s offer from being considered until June 1, 2023. They do so by creating a new term and definition, “at risk time period” that does not exist in the statute. DEEP must eliminate this definition in the final Request for Proposals in order to be in compliance with the legislative intent of the law. Otherwise, DEEP will be usurping the legislative authority from the women and men elected to represent the people of this state.
Dominion Energy, the owner and operator of Millstone Power Station, acted in good faith throughout the entire legislative process. It has responded to all legislative and regulatory requests, including voluntarily providing its proprietary and independently audited financial data. If Millstone is the winning bidder in the competitive auction, its contract has to take effect now and not in 2023. That is what the legislature intended by passing and enacting Public Act No. 17-3.
What’s more, Dominion Energy is facing an important decision now about investing more than 700 million dollars into Millstone Power Station to maintain exemplary operations. Neither Dominion Energy, nor the workers at Millstone Power Station, nor the ratepayers, nor Connecticut can afford the delayed implementation of the auction to 2023.
A premature retirement of Millstone will certainly result in higher electricity costs for Connecticut’s ratepayers, the loss of thousands of jobs, thirty million in local taxes, 1.5 billion to the state economy and the inability of the state to meet its clean air goals. The adverse economic and environmental ramifications cannot be overemphasized.
The debate over the future of Millstone has been settled by the legislature. It is the job of Connecticut’s energy regulators to follow the legislature’s will. The Southeastern delegation cannot overstate the urgency and necessity for them to comply with the legislative intent of Public Act 17-3.
We urge DEEP to amend its draft RFP, eliminate the language regarding the 2023 start date and comply with the law enacted.
Rep. Kathleen McCarty (R-38)
Rep. Holly Cheeseman (R-37)
Rep. Mike France (R-42)
Rep. Devin Carney (R-23)
Rep. Christine Conley (D-40)
Sen. Heather Somers (R-18)
Rep. Chris Soto (D-39)
Rep. Emmett Riley (D-46)
Rep. Kevin Ryan (D-139)
Rep. Linda Orange (D-48)
Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34)
Rep. Doug Dubitsky (R-47)
Sen. Paul Formica(R-20)
Rep. Kevin Skulczyck (R-45)
Sen. Cathy Osten (D-19)
Rep. De La Cruz (D-41)