The approval of the merger between Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service is drawing mixed reactions in Rutland.
Many local officials are still concerned about the merger’s economic impact.
Rutland County Senator Peg Flory says it’s hard to describe the way she felt when she heard the merger was approved.
"It’s just sort of feels like having a good old long time friend – all of a sudden move to the other end of the country," Flory says.
She says CVPS has been a vital, economic engine for Rutland and losing it will be hard.
Rutland State Senator Kevin Mullin says he hates to see all the executive positions go – especially since the mineral processing company OMYA moved its headquarters out of the area just a few years ago.
"We’re losing the really good paying jobs out of the Rutland region and there isn’t someone coming in to fill that vacuum," Mullin says.
Rutland Mayor Chris Louras says he was pleased to see that the city’s memorandum of understanding with Green Mountain Power was included in the Public Service Board’s decision.
Louras says the agreement outlined job protection criteria that should help spread job losses out between both CVPS and GMP.
But Kevin Mullin says the merger will cost the state more than just jobs.
"We had two very strong utilities in the state with CV and GMP and now what we’ve done is we’ve placed the control of our utilities in the hands of foreign ownership in the hands of one company," Mullin says. "I think it’s a very risky step for the state of VT and I don’t think it was a prudent one."
Mullin says he was especially disappointed that the public service board did not mandate that GMP reimburse ratepayers the 21 million dollars they paid to help bail CVPS out ten years ago.
"When you take a look at how much money is being made on this deal – to think that the rate payers couldn’t’ be repaid is just a shame," Mullin says.
In its decision, the public service board said the $21 million dollars would be better spent on energy efficiency programs.