Green Mountain Power

The Vermont Public Service Board has once again rejected arguments that ratepayers should get a $21 million refund when the state's two largest utilities merged.

Vermont Public Radio reports the board this week upheld a key provision of its June order that allowed Green Mountain Power to merge with Central Vermont Public Service Corporation.

The deal was panned by the consumer group AARP, which had raised an alarm over a payback provision for extra money CVPS customers were ordered to pay the company a decade ago to pull it back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Mountain Talk/Pat O'Neill

Vermont police say six protesters have been arrested at the site of the Lowell mountain wind-power project.

The activists say at least 45 individuals on Monday prevented construction workers and equipment from reaching the construction area along the top of the mountain.

The protesters believe the project is destroying a pristine ridgeline and has little environmental benefit.

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.