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September 21, 2017 CT Green Guide

Dominion's lips remain sealed on Millstone financials

HBJ file photo Millstone Power Station in Waterford

It appears Millstone Power Station owner Dominion will be unwilling to share any key financial information, at least publicly, with state officials trying to ascertain the nuclear plant's economic viability, as ordered by Gov. Dannel Malloy in July.

Responding this week to a series of data requests from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Dominion declined to answer a majority of inquiries about its revenue, expenses, cash flow and earnings.

“Dominion Energy will not provide competitively sensitive or proprietary information related to this request … at this time,” the company wrote as a part of its response to nine of the 23 questions, not all of which were directly related to the plant’s finances.

However, the company said it would be willing to disclose “trends for both revenue and expenses” in oral briefings through a consultant it has hired.

The company said Millstone’s payroll was $188 million last year and that the plant paid $27.1 million in property taxes.

Dominion said it doesn’t view the data requests as mandatory or binding because the Malloy-ordered review is not a contested proceeding.

The company also cited recently approved legislation in the Senate as one of its reasons for not disclosing information. The bill, if approved by the House and Malloy, could allow Dominion to compete with several other kinds of generation resources in a state-led bidding process for electricity that could yield contracts worth as much as 12 million megawatt hours of electricity.

“Maintaining our competitive position is particularly important now, as Senate Bill 1501 makes multiple resources, including older Canadian hydro assets and others, eligible to bid in the same competitive procurement process,” Dominion Power Generation Group CEO Paul Koonce wrote in the Sept. 19 filing.

Dominion managed to get a similar bill through the Senate during the legislature’s regular session that ended in early June, but failed to get a vote in the House.

Opponents of allowing Dominion to compete for out-of-market contracts -- the fiercest of which have been fossil fuel power plants -- have argued that allowing Dominion into such solicitation would lead to higher energy prices. Opponents have repeatedly criticized Dominion for asking for what they deem to be a subsidy or special deal when it won’t open its books to show that it needs it.

This week, a coalition of opponents going by the name Stop the Millstone Payout criticized Dominion’s answers to the data request, which came after the company was granted more time to answer.

“After a three-week extension, an explicit ability to disclose confidentially, and abundant opportunity to prove its case, Millstone has yet again resisted providing information that would allegedly validate the very claims they make,” said coalition spokesman Matt Fossen. "It's hard to imagine that anyone would buy claims that Millstone refuses to back up in writing."

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House passes Millstone bill

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