Letter: Millstone payout - Putting jobs in jeopardy, ratepayers at risk

To the Editor:

Connecticut, like many other states across the country, faces several challenges in the coming years — with few good solutions.

One of those challenges is ensuring that our electricity is affordable while supporting competition in the energy industry. But a solution that’s being proposed right now — a multi-hundred million dollar handout to Dominion Resources’ Millstone nuclear plant — does just the opposite.

NRG’s generation plant in Milford, as well as our employees and the community, have a big stake here. Given Connecticut’s electric rates, the highest in the lower 48 states, as well as a projected $1.5 billion budget deficit and companies leaving Connecticut over the enormous cost of doing business here, everyone is in a bind.

But giving Millstone a massive payout won’t solve these problems. It will make them worse.

First, although Millstone claims to be in financial distress, it refuses to provide any evidence. Nor has its owner Dominion, a Virginia-based company that earned $2.1 billion last year alone, demonstrated that the plant is at risk of closing.

Second, Millstone is already earning substantial revenues from Connecticut ratepayers through annual capacity payments — $79 million per year now, increasing by another $98 million per year in June, and an additional $64 million in 2018. Does this sound like a plant in dire financial straits?

Most important, however, is that giving Millstone this windfall would increase electric rates for Connecticut ratepayers. In fact, between the handout, increasing capacity payments, and tipping the scales of the power market, consumers will be paying more while receiving no benefit. It’s no wonder that consumer groups like AARP and its 600,000 Connecticut members oppose this corporate windfall.

Of course, Millstone says it “just wants to compete,” but it’s able to compete right now, without taking hundreds of millions more of ratepayers’ money — your money, and gaining a massive, unfair advantage in the market.

If Connecticut gives Millstone this payout, we’re risking a lot. For plants like NRG’s Devon Station in Milford, jobs, families and local tax revenue will be threatened.

All we’re asking for is a level playing field and the opportunity to compete, which is what Millstone’s owner says it wants. Stopping the Millstone payout won’t solve all of our problems, but it will help ensure that local jobs, families and ratepayers are protected.  

Don Guzzetta – Manager, NRG Devon station