For Release: Contact: Barry Wanger
Feb. 5, 2015 Media Relations for
Northeast Energy Solutions
Regional Energy Group Calls for Actual Rate Payer Benefits From
Gas Pipeline Proposals Before Maine Public Utilities Commission
The four proposals submitted by major gas pipeline companies to the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) under the State’s Energy Cost Reduction Act
should provide evidence that they will actually deliver financial benefits to end-users, according to a regional energy organization.
In a filing submitted to the Maine PUC, Northeast Energy Solutions (NEES) states that “none of the (current) proposals for gas pipeline capacity has sufficient
information to determine whether anything, other than speculative benefits, will be delivered to consumers…”
The Commission is currently reviewing the proposals and is expected to determine if any of them could achieve benefits to Maine and the region.
The proposed gas pipeline expansion projects submitted to the Maine PUC were the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline Project, the Atlantic Bridge Project,
the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project, and the TGP Expansion.
Vincent DeVito, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs who is the attorney representing NEES, suggested that
the Commission require that the companies provide “a deeper evaluation of purported benefits and better illustration of reasonable costs allocation
DeVito said such a thorough evaluation “will show that the proposals do not offer genuine benefits,” in their current state, to Maine and the other New
NEES set forth the following questions for evaluating the current proposals:
- Do the projects protect ratepayers from market volatility and correlating price increases?
- What are the expected likely impacts on energy prices?
- Will the purported benefits likely overcome the financial burden placed on the state?
- Will the costs of the project be fully born by Maine consumers?
- Does new pipeline capacity in the Northeast equate to lower prices?
- Will the companies include a guarantee of lower energy costs?
- What are the environmental attributes, benefits, and risks?
The Maine PUC is considering whether to use its authority to purchase up to $1.5 billion in pipeline capacity over 20 years. Certain regional pipeline
expansion proposals traveling through a slew of Northeastern states are asking for a capacity commitment by the state in order to support their pipeline
expansion plans before other regulators.
One such proposal included a suite of standard industry agreements offering the state to buy capacity in Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s (TGP) proposed Northeast
Energy Direct (NED) project. Last September, TGP initially asked Maine regulators to decide by the end of November about charging electricity ratepayers
to pay for NED – that request was submitted only two days after TGP filed it pre-application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
NEES was established to provide sound analysis, effective advocacy, and public education related to proposed energy transport projects in the Northeast.
For Release: Contact: Barry Wanger
Upon receipt Wanger Associates
For Northeast Energy Solutions
New Coalition Investigating Environmental, Economic Impacts of Energy Projects
Endorses Gov. Baker’s Call for a Northeast Energy Summit
Gov. Baker’s proposal to convene a Northeast Energy Summit was strongly endorsed today by Northeast Energy Solutions (NEES), a coalition or organizations
investigating the environmental and economic impacts of energy infrastructure development.
“With the high volume of stakeholders and the numerous proposed projects, there is a clear and present need for a broad-based summit to bring cohesiveness
and common sense to energy policy,” said Eleanor Tillinghast, a NEES co-founder.
“The fear of price spikes and land taking spurred a wild-west sensation in the Northeast and Gov. Baker’s proposal for a summit is good news for anyone
concerned skyrocketing cost electricity in the Commonwealth,” she said.
She stressed that there are several gas pipeline projects and state initiatives currently being discussed that, “if developed could swamp the purported
aggregate needs of the region.”
Tillinghast said among the issues that could be discussed at the proposed energy summit could include:
- Is demand for natural gas in the region increasing or are there only peak concerns during certain weather events?
- Even though the distribution companies are able to meet non-peak load demands, why are electricity costs going up?
- How does new pipeline capacity in the Northeast equate to lower prices?
- What are the best pipeline-to-port routes for exporting natural gas to new and expanding markets?
- What is the federal government doing to reduce the region’s use of natural gas by way of energy efficiency with the end-users and the distribution
- Should a pipeline be built over conservation lands when there are other routes available?
- Are pipelines safe enough to be laid through a protected municipal watershed?