NH Improperly Charged New England Ratepayers

So a utility built a pipeline tax into their rate increase without permission? Who'd a thunk?!

Full article from Mass.gov below:

"New Hampshire Transmission (NHT) will refund New England ratepayers $6.8 million, with $3.2 million going to Massachusetts electric ratepayers, to settle allegations that the company improperly included millions of dollars of development costs in its transmission rates, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

This settlement resolves a complaint the Attorney General’s Office filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in April 2015.  The AG’s office argued that New England consumers should not foot the bill for the $9.9 million that NHT spent to develop its proposed SeaLink transmission project, a project which was not selected to be built by ISO-New England, the Regional Transmission Operator. ISO-New England compares proposed projects and selects the project that will best serve transmission needs.

 “As the state’s ratepayer advocate, it is my job to ensure that the millions of dollars improperly charged to ratepayers gets returned to them,” said AG Healey. “We need to keep working with consumer advocates and our state, local and federal partners so that costs for electricity transmission are fair, reasonable and transparent.”

Joining the AG’s Office in this case against NHT are the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, the Maine Office of the Public Advocate and the Vermont Department of Public Service.

Through its investigation, the AG’s Office discovered that from 2012-2015, NHT collected $9.9 million in expenses from ratepayers for the proposed transmission project. As a result of the AG’s complaint, FERC opened an investigation into the claim and the AG’s Office and other consumer advocates litigated the matter before FERC.

As a result of the settlement, NHT will refund $6.5 million of the costs it billed to ratepayers in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and has agreed to forgo billing customers for costs incurred for the project in 2015, which is equal to $305,000. Massachusetts ratepayers will receive approximately $3.2 million – or 47 percent of the refund – and the other New England states will receive the remaining balance. Pending approval by FERC, NHT will be required to refund the money on July 31, 2016.

As part of her office’s ongoing efforts to advocate for ratepayers, AG Healey is also leading negotiations with transmission owners and other stakeholders that will result in new reporting and communications requirements for transmission owners, with the goal of achieving a more transparent process for setting electric transmission rates.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Christina Belew and Donald Boecke with assistance from Analyst Fred Plett, all of AG Healey’s Energy and Telecommunications Division."