Committee Hearings Held Regarding Legislature Involvement in Utility Merger
The merger of Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service has become controversial due to how the merged company plans to refund $21 million owed to CVPS ratepayers. The companies want to repay ratepayers through energy efficiency measures, but AARP-Vermont and others have been pushing for direct cash refunds. An amendment was presented in the Vermont House that would force the direct payments to customers. The House Natural Resources and Energy and the Commerce and Economic Development committees took testimony Tuesday on the appropriateness of Legislative intervention. Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation President Frank Cioffi feels it is not good public policy for the Legislature to intervene in the middle of an on-going regulatory process.
Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce President Tom Torti says legislative intervention blurs the separation of powers.
AARP-Vermont State Director Greg Marchildon says the hearing was stacked with utility representatives and their supporters.
Vermont Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott says the legislature should not intervene in the Public Service Board proceedings.
The Public Service Board is not expected to rule on the merger plan until at least mid June.