Vermont Power in New Hampshire.


  In the fall and winter of 2002-2003 I traveled to and participated in several meetings of the Vermont Renewable Power Supply Acquisition Authority in the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vermont.

  The purpose of this authority was to investigate and possibly acquire the hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River which were owned by the then bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) based in California. The idea was or at least what was presented was that Vermont would issue bonds for the acquisition of the dams and then use the revenue streams from the electricity to not only pay back the bonds but to bring lower electric rates to Vermonters.

  Its a good idea. But during the testimony the Secretary of Administration, Michael Smith said something that really concerned me he said, "we attempted to contact New Hampshire officials about this proposal and there not interested." I found this very difficult to believe. Some of these dams including Moore and Comerford are actually in New Hampshire pay a huge amount of payment in lieu of taxes to local communities so of course New Hampshire has an interest in who owns and operates these dams! So at the I took a piece of paper and wrote down some New Hampshire officials who I believed would be interested in this issue. I wrote down the Governor's Office, Executive Councilor Ray Burton, DRED Commissioner George Bald and the NH Public Utilities Commission.

  This is an example of why I think New Hampshire is failing. It should have never gotten to this point. I don't think Vermont officials should be making statements like this. New Hampshire officials especially DRED should be proactive and instead of waiting for Vermont to take action they should have been over in Montpelier as I was! Pacific Gas & Electric had declared bankruptcy some six months before all this happened. This should have been enough notice to Concord.

  The whole issue was decided about a month later as Trans Canada Inc. a company that owns and operates energy sources and pipelines throughout Canada announced its intention to acquire these dams, some of which were built in the 1930s under the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Trans Canada continues to operate these dams today.