Administration questions benefits of Yankee uprate

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(Host) A top official with the Douglas administration says Vermont Yankee still hasn’t made the case for its proposed power upgrade.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Hearings start Monday on Yankee’s plan to retrofit the reactor in order to produce 20% more electricity.

But Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien says he questions whether the power plan is good for the state. O’Brien, who heads the state agency that represents ratepayers, says he’s concerned that the plant could be forced into lengthy shutdowns during the power upgrade.

(O’Brien) “That would lead to an interruption in power sales to Vermont ratepayers. And that interruption in sales could result in Vermont utilities buying power on the wholesale market at a higher price than what they would have otherwise from Vermont Yankee.”

(Dillon) The Yankee plan must be approved by the Public Service Board. O’Brien says his staff will tell the board about the state’s concerns.

(O’Brien) “In good faith, considering our responsibility to the ratepayers, I can’t say we’re at the point where we could support the proposal before the board.”

(Dillon) But O’Brien held out the possibility that the state could eventually endorse the Yankee proposal. He says if the reactor owners address the state’s concerns, then his department may back the plan.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon In Montpelier.

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