SOURCE: NH Journal: An InsideSources Publication
AUTHOR: Kyle Plantz
In the past week, there have been several questions raised about the cost of the Northern Pass project and who is poised to pick up the cost once it’s completed. It also led to some public scuffles in the media between Hydro-Québec (HQ) and its New Hampshire partner, Eversource.
On Thursday, both companies said they remain committed to the $1.6 billion project to transport 1,090 megawatts of electricity to New England from Canada to Deerfield through 192 miles of hydroelectric power lines.
“Eversource and Hydro-Québec have had a long-standing partnership to develop a transmission project that would deliver much-needed clean hydropower from Québec to New England energy consumers,” according to a statement from Eversource.
But just one day prior, in three Le Journal de Québec articles, it appeared that HQ was reassessing its financial arrangement with Eversource. One article claimed HQ would pay to bury about 60 miles of the line, mostly through the White Mountain National Forest, but refused to bury about 11 miles of the line in Canada, despite pleas from local residents.
A second article stated that HQ has assumed the risks of the project and would have to pay the entire cost. Yet, a HQ official claimed New England consumers would ultimately pay for the $500 million additional cost for burying the lines and the entire Northern Pass project — a private transmission line for the exclusive use of HQ.
The third article suggested that HQ was considering abandoning the project if it wouldn’t be profitable for Québec residents. HQ is a crown corporation, meaning it’s a business essentially owned by the Province of Québec.
On March 8, HQ spokesman Serge Abergel told 98.5 FM that his company “will not pay a penny to build the line in the United States.” He argued that Hydro-Québec wanted “the transportation costs to be borne by the American customer and that’s what the partner Eversource says too.”
But in the Northern Pass statement, the company reiterated that the cost of the project will not fall on New Hampshire customers.