Southeastern CT Lawmakers Applaud Senate Passage of Energy Stability Bill to Protect Ratepayers, Preserve Millstone’s Presence in CT

September 15, 2017

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Hartford – Today the state Senate approved a bill initiating an appraisal to determine what actions are needed to preserve Millstone Power Station’s presence in Connecticut. Similar to legislation that was passed by the Senate earlier this year, the legislation requires the state implement changes to support Millstone if determined to be in the best interest of ratepayers to provide energy stability, preserve the state’s largest carbon-free energy source, and keep energy rates down. The bipartisan bill was passed in a special session of the General Assembly.

“Protecting Millstone’s presence in Connecticut is one of the single most important issues facing out state today,” said state Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), co-chair of the Energy and Technology Committee. “Millstone provides over half the power that people use in our state every day. It also provides thousands of jobs and is an engine of economic growth for the entire state. Ensuring Millstone stays open is vital to Connecticut’s economy and residents. We have to slowly move our state over time to renewable resources, but carbon-free nuclear energy must remain a part of that transition to bridge the gap. I want to thank all the lawmakers who worked together throughout the year to advocate for this common sense legislation that is a win-win for ratepayers and the state’s energy stability.”

“This bill revolves around protecting 1,500 jobs — not only 1,100 jobs at Millstone, but 400 jobs at area subcontractors. The passage of this bill comes as Millstone is committing to making hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to its plant, improvements that will increase its long-term contributions to the energy needs of Connecticut,” state Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) said. “The possible closure of Millstone would have devastating repercussions not only for southeast Connecticut, but for the entire state as well. And it’s worth remembering that Millstone saves on carbon emissions, it’s very reliable, and it allows for lower energy bills. And there are protections for ratepayers built into this legislation. So this is a bill that we had to pass for a variety of reasons.”

“At the end of the day approving this bill is all about jobs, cementing good-paying jobs for the hard-working residents of Southeastern Connecticut,” said state Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton). “Preserving Millstone’s presence in Connecticut is also essential to the overall economic growth of our great state. I want to thank all of the dedicated lawmakers who worked diligently on the legislation, legislation that is a positive for both the ratepayers and the stability of the state’s energy.”

The legislation will direct the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to complete an appraisal of the current and future condition of New England’s nuclear facilities.  The agency will be required to implement recommendations made by the appraisal if determined to be in the best interest of ratepayers. The legislation does not provide any subsidies. Nor does it include any procurement fees to the state. Rather, the bill would allow DEEP and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) to determine if it is in the best interest of ratepayers to remove the middleman and allow nuclear facilities to sell power directly to utilities to lock in long-term stable prices through a competitive process.

The appraisal will investigate the economic conditions of New England’s nuclear facilities and the impact of what would happen to the state’ s electric markets, greenhouse gas goals and the state, local and regional economies if those plants closed. Throughout the country, changing markets are resulting in nuclear plants closing in many states. With those closings comes a reduction in available power and challenges for states that rely significantly on such plants for energy needs.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

PHOTO ATTACHED: Sen. Paul Formica and Sen. Cathy Osten following the vote on the energy bill today.