(Host) Vermont could be host to a major new transmission line to carry power from Canada to southern New England.
Governors from the region and premiers from eastern Canadian provinces say they want a study to identify the best route for the line.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) The region’s governors and the Canadian premiers are holding their annual meeting this week in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In a teleconference call with reporters, Governor Peter Shumlin said the group has called for the creation of a plan that would bring excess hydro power from Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador to the population centers of New England.
(Shumlin) "How we get green, reliable hydro as a stable source of power for New England. Since we’re building the generation, the generation exceeds the ability of our northern neighbors to use it and we have adequately addressed the transmission question. So that’s been an eye opener for me and I think a really helpful area where we can collaborate in a really productive way."
(Kinzel) Shumlin says it’s too early to say if a new transmission line would be built in Vermont – or how large it might have to be. But he says states that host these lines will reap some important economic benefits:
(Shumlin) "Whoever is the transmitter of that power is going to negotiate a preferential price in exchange for hosting that corridor."
(Kinzel) Two Canadian companies, Gaz Metro and Fortis have made offers to buy the state’s largest utility, the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation.
Shumlin favors the Gaz Metro offer because he says it will provide lower electric rates to consumers and businesses.
He also points to the company’s offer to give the state of Vermont its share of the state’s transmission system. It’s an offer that Shumlin says gives the state an important seat at the table in future power discussions:
(Shumlin) "One of the attractive things about the Gaz Metro offer in my judgment is that it would give Vermonters a 30 percent ownership in our transmission company, VELCO."
(Kinzel) The CVPS board of directors is reviewing the two offers and is expected to make a recommendation in the near future.
The governor says some members of his cabinet are answering questions from board members about the sale. But he says that’s the extent of the administration’s involvement.
(Shumlin) "I’ve been very candid with anyone who asks me about that. But we’re not lobbying. We’re just answering questions when we’re asked."
(Kinzel) Any plan to sell CVPS would have to be approved by the Vermont Public Service Board.
For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier