Dolly McPhaul: We can’t be bought, Eversource

For the Monitor
Saturday, March 10, 2018

Eversource and its New Hampshire president, Bill Quinlan, are stunned by Northern Pass’s permit rejection. They want another try. Really? What stunned them? The fact their money, power, influence peddling, donations and behind-the-scenes deals failed? Their project’s rejection shouldn’t surprise them; it is incomplete and inaccurate.

Claims of a “hasty decision” (Northern Pass could make changes, the Site Evaluation Committee should have judged all four criteria) are being made by Eversource and supporters. Eversource sounds like a spoiled child who lost his game: Let me redo this, give me another chance, I can do better, you didn’t referee right. Eversource believes the SEC should have told them what they should do to make the project acceptable – it’s the SEC’s fault.

Eversource, in its arrogance, was negligent with its plans because it was convinced it had lined up all the “powers” it needed on its side to gain its permit. It relied on its influence and money, lobbyists and attorneys, legislators and the governor, without doing the necessary work.

The basic rules are simple, guys:

1) The company submits a “complete” application.

2) The application goes through the adjudicatory process, making necessary changes.

3) The adjudicatory process ends and deliberations begin.

4) During the deliberative session, the committee weighs four criteria. Failure to meet even one of the criteria results in the permit’s rejection.

There is no bargaining after the decision.

There is no second try.

Northern Pass was rejected based on the “rules.” The SEC listened to 180 witnesses and studied 500,000 pages of evidence before making its decision. The fact it unanimously made a decision in three days demonstrates Northern Pass is outrageously unacceptable.

Eversource is mounting an offensive/defensive campaign to undermine the SEC’s totally legal 7-0 rejection of Northern Pass.

It is bringing out its routine letter writers and supporters: the BIA, Manchester and Nashua chambers of commerce, all of which have one or more Eversource representatives on their boards. Soon, BAE and Sig Sauer (with representatives on the BIA executive board with Quinlan) will be praising Northern Pass.

The BIA stated Northern Pass is shovel ready, a ridiculous claim. The project was rejected for not being complete and meeting criteria.

If Eversource couldn’t create an acceptable project, it should not be in control of 192 miles of 1,090 megawatts of power passing through our front yards, business districts and in front of our schools.

Northern Pass had over eight years to complete this project, yet it is still incomplete and an abysmal failure. And Eversource has the audacity to complain?

Northern Pass just filed paperwork asking the SEC to reconsider its ruling. In the 29 pages, Northern Pass officials promised $75 million (from the Forward NH Fund, which it had already pledged) to address a myriad of SEC concerns and were “willing to accept” 75 commitments and conditions. How generous of them. That should be unacceptable as Northern Pass showed little concern for conditions put on its application and for the Department of Transportation’s conditions. DOT sent back Northern Pass “solutions” two, three and even four times because it failed to do as requested. We should believe Northern Pass will carry through on these new commitments? Yet again, Eversource is attempting to buy its permit.

Eversource line workers do an amazing job, but their executives are untrustworthy. New Hampshire has come to not want Northern Pass in any form. When people in the North Country turn down millions of dollars, one person $15 million, the message is clear: We can’t be bought. We don’t want you. Take your “incentive” money, your project and go elsewhere.

(Dolly McPhaul lives in Sugar Hill.)