10.31.17: Statement on Millstone Bill: “We Applaud Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for Giving the Millstone Issue Careful Thought”

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2017

 

STATEMENT ON MILLSTONE BILL: "WE APPLAUD GOVERNOR MALLOY AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR GIVING THE MILLSTONE ISSUE CAREFUL THOUGHT"

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today after Governor Malloy signed S.B. 1501:

“We applaud Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for giving the Millstone issue careful thought. The interim findings by DEEP and PURA only affirm what we have been saying all along: Millstone is highly profitable and has no good rationale to seek special treatment. The regional electric markets are working as they should, by encouraging competition and capital investments, while providing options for plants that are truly struggling. Millstone’s robust profitability – which is expected to continue even longer than previously thought – is proof positive that it is not struggling and that there is no need for Connecticut to intervene in the electric market.”

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10.11.17: Amid New Data, Dominion’s Closure Threats Face The $1 Billion Question

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2017

 

AMID NEW DATA, DOMINION'S CLOSURE THREATS FACE THE $1 BILLION QUESTION

STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT ASKS IF MILLSTONE WILL REALLY FORFEIT $1 BILLION ON PROFITABLE PLANT JUST TO SPITE CONNECTICUT? 

Hartford, CT -- The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, a group composed of competitive energy companies NRG, Calpine and Dynegy and the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), today released a new report that raises serious questions about the credibility of the Millstone Nuclear Plant’s threat to close its doors.  

The analysis, performed by global energy research firm Energyzt Advisors, details the financial penalties that Millstone would incur to prematurely exit its obligations to the wholesale electric market. Under ISO-New England rules, Millstone is currently obligated to provide capacity to the region through May 2021 and would have to pay to break those commitments.

The report concludes that if Millstone were to close today, those penalties would amount to at least $680 million – and would be closer to $1 billion once other market obligations are factored in.

“There is simply no way that Dominion is going to unnecessarily fork over $1 billion to close the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States,” said coalition spokesperson Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition. “To put things in perspective, those penalties alone would cost nearly as much as Dominion paid for Millstone in the first place.”

Fossen added: “If the facts were on their side, Millstone would be working with the state to find a solution. Instead, they’re making empty threats that basic math says they will never execute. Connecticut lawmakers need to understand that propping up Millstone now will only hurt ratepayers and give a windfall payout to a company that cannot demonstrate any economic need.”

To reach their conclusions, Energyzt’s researchers examined the ISO-NE regulatory process, with a focus on what are called “Forward Capacity Auctions,” or FCAs. Under the rules of that system, power plants agree to make their services available to ISO-New England in exchange for payments. Capacity auctions are held 40 months in advance, which means obligations are locked in more than three years ahead of time. ISO-New England sets severe financial penalties for breaking these obligations.

As the analysis states:

“Simply removing Millstone from the capacity supply curve results in an incremental buy-out charge that exceeds the FCA payments Millstone currently is set to receive.  The resulting cost to Dominion is estimated to be between $200 million and $250 million per capacity commitment period, for a total cost of approximately $680 million for Millstone to extinguish its existing capacity obligations, which would be required in order for the units to retire prior to the scheduled end of its obligations through 2021.  

"In addition, given Millstone’s failure to submit a notification to withdraw its capacity from the upcoming auction for the 2021-2022 period, Dominion would incur additional costs to buy out of its obligation for that year. Including a buy-out of the current commitment to bid in FCA12, total costs to shed its capacity obligations to ISO-NE could approach $1 billion …”

For comparison purposes, it is worth noting that Dominion purchased the Millstone Nuclear Plant for $1.3 billion in the year 2000.

This new analysis further erodes any remaining credibility of Millstone’s claims of financial distress. In an earlier report this spring, Energyzt estimated the cost of a legislative plan to subsidize Millstone would cost ratepayers $330 million per year, translating into a 15% to 20% increase in supply costs. A study by MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research furthermore found that Millstone will be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States through 2019, while a New England States Committee on Electricity report showed that “under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

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9.20.17: Stop the Millstone Payout Asks “What Does Millstone Have Against Transparency?”

For Immediate Release: September 20, 2017

 

STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT ASKS "WHAT DOES MILLSTONE HAVE AGAINST TRANSPARENCY?"

MILLSTONE'S LATEST "FILING"RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PLANT'S NEED FOR AID

Hartford, CT -- A day after the Millstone Nuclear Plant failed to file meaningful financial data with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition today called out the plant owner's lack of transparency on an issue that’s critical to Connecticut’s already overburdened ratepayers.  

“Over two legislative sessions, Millstone has spent countless resources attempting to convince policymakers that they are financially vulnerable and in need of special assistance to stay afloat in the future,” said coalition spokesperson Matt Fossen. “Yet, when the state takes the obvious step of asking for financial information to verify Millstone's claim, the plant repeatedly refuses to disclose even minimal financial information. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, Connecticut’s leaders are asking the right questions, but Millstone is stonewalling every step of the way.” 

Under the state’s inquiry, initiated by Governor Malloy's Executive Order (EO) and jointly conducted by DEEP and PURA, Dominion Energy was initially supposed to submit requested information by August 29th. In a filing made yesterday (after receiving a three week extension), Millstone still refused to provide key information about its revenues, operating and maintenance costs, fuel expenses, future capital expenses, annual earnings and cash flow, depreciation and state income taxes paid, forecasted operating and maintenance expenses and more.

Millstone also did not seek to file any of this information under a protective order, which is routine in agency proceedings.

“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,” continued Fossen. "It's hard to imagine that anyone would buy claims that Millstone refuses to back up in writing."

According to a study by Energyzt, a special deal for Millstone would cost ratepayers $330 million per year, translating to a 15% to 20% increase in supply costs. A study by MIT furthermore found that Millstone will be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States through 2019, while a New England States Committee on Electricity report showed that “under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

“Every shred of public evidence says that Millstone is profitable, and will be for years,” concluded Fossen. “Their failure to provide any information to the contrary isn’t helping their case. Even with the chance to make their case with complete confidentiality, they didn’t. We urge legislators to contemplate what this suggests, and stand strong against Dominion's latest attempt to subvert transparency.”

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9.14.17: Stop the Millstone Payout Opposes Budget Authorization of Nuclear Handout, Reiterates “Let’s Get the Facts About Millstone Before Considering Any Special Deal”

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2017

 

STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT OPPOSES BUDGET AUTHORIZATION OF NUCLEAR HANDOUT, REITERATES "LET'S GET THE FACTS ABOUT MILLSTONE BEFORE CONSIDERING ANY SPECIAL DEAL"

CORPORATE HANDOUT IS PREMATURE GIVEN ONGOING INQUIRY INTO MILLSTONE'S FINANCES

Hartford, CT -- The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition affirmed today its opposition to the inclusion of a special $85 million “procurement fee” in the Republican budget proposal. The “fee” is to be charged to the Millstone Nuclear Plant and its owner (Virginia-based, Fortune 500 firm Dominion Energy), which in exchange would receive access to a lucrative, long-term, non-competitive contract.

“This proposal sets a terrible precedent for the state,” said coalition spokesperson Matt Fossen. “Simply put, there is no amount of money that Millstone can offer our state’s government that will make up for the damage it’s going to do to Connecticut ratepayers. Under this deal, Millstone would pay $85 million and gain the ability to charge ratepayers an additional $1.65 BILLION over a five year period. Those dollars will leave Connecticut ratepayers’ wallets and go directly to Dominion’s shareholders.”

According to a study by Energyzt, a special deal for Millstone would cost ratepayers $330 million per year, translating to a 15% to 20% increase in supply costs. A study by MIT furthermore found that Millstone will be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States through 2019, while a New England States Committee on Electricity report showed that “under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

“The truth is Millstone isn’t going anywhere,” continued Fossen. “The plant is staying put for years to come, and shows no signs of being financially vulnerable. Given these facts, the ratepayer impact, and the ongoing inquiry, the last thing we should be doing is rushing to hand out lucrative special deals with no questions asked.”

Millstone has a capacity service obligation to the ISO-New England market until at least 2022. In addition, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) docket -- ordered by Governor Malloy and being jointly conducted by PURA and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protections (DEEP) -- is well underway. The probe is meant to determine if Millstone needs special assistance; something the plant has asked for over the last two years, but been denied each time because Millstone refuses to demonstrate economic need. So what’s the rush? “In the end, we cannot simply put over a billion consumer dollars at stake,” concluded Fossen. “That would be more than unwise, so let’s get the facts about Millstone before considering any special deal.”

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9.12.17: Statement on Connecticut Republicans’ Budget Proposal: “Millstone Proposal Would be Laughable if the Outcome Wasn’t so Catastrophic”

For Immediate Release: September 12, 2017

 

STATEMENT ON CONNECTICUT REPUBLICANS' BUDGET PROPOSAL: "MILLSTONE PROPOSAL WOULD BE LAUGHABLE IF THE OUTCOME WASN'T SO CATASTROPHIC."

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today after the Connecticut Senate and House Republicans unveiled a budget proposal which includes a special $50 million “procurement fee” in exchange for a lucrative long-term contract for the owner of the Millstone Nuclear Plant (Virginia-based, Fortune 500 firm Dominion Energy) to alleviate the state’s budget crisis:

“Let’s get this straight – Millstone is willing to offer the state $50 million in exchange for a long-term contract that will increase their profit margin and somehow Connecticut’s already overburdened ratepayers are going to save money? Such a proposal would be laughable if the outcome wasn’t so catastrophic for ratepayers.

“The state has already launched an inquiry into Millstone’s financial situation, and it’s very troubling that some lawmakers don’t want to give investigators enough time to see if Millstone actually needs the money. We must allow the state’s energy experts to get to the bottom of things before awarding money to anyone – especially since Connecticut already has the highest electric rates in the continental U.S., while all available evidence shows a special deal for Millstone spells increased rates for consumers. This proposal creates a precedent where already profitable companies can buy favors from the state, and everyone else – consumers and every other business in Connecticut – will suffer.”

According to a recent study by Energyzt, a special deal for Millstone would cost ratepayers $330 million per year, translating to a 15% to 20% increase in supply costs (an extra $90 annually on utility bills). The same data shows that the plant has earned an estimated $3 billion in profits since 2001, made $150 million in after-tax income last year, and is slated to make $400 million in such income over the next five years.

A study by MIT furthermore found that Millstone will be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States through 2019, while a New England States Committee on Electricity report showed that “Under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

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8.29.17: Stop the Millstone Payout Coalition Launches Online Petition Against Massive Corporate Payout

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2017

 

STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT COALITION LAUNCHES ONLINE PETITION AGAINST MASSIVE CORPORATE PAYOUT

Group’s Latest Move Gives Connecticut Ratepayers a Forum for Advocacy Against Rate Increases, Multi-Hundred Million Dollar Handout for Nuke Plant

Hartford, CT -- The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition today launched a new online petition against a costly and unnecessary payout for the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford. The petition (posted below) was created in response to reports that Millstone is offering the state up to $125 million in exchange for access to special long-term contracts historically reserved for wind and solar energy producers. Today’s launch also coincides with the original date that Millstone’s owner (Virginia based Fortune 500 firm Dominion Energy) was supposed to supply financial information to the state in compliance with an executive ordered study into the plant’s financial situation.

“The point of this petition is simple: to show policymakers the depth and breadth of opposition to this ratepayer-funded corporate payout,” said Matt Fossen, coalition spokesperson. “All the available data clearly shows that Millstone is currently profitable, will continue to be so in the future, and is obligated to operate through 2022. Given this reality and the mountain of problems facing the state, we applaud Governor Malloy for ordering an official investigation, and encourage consumers to ask why they should have to pay an extra $330 million per year on their utility bills when Millstone won’t open its books and prove it needs the money.”

According to a study by Energyzt, a special deal for Millstone would cost ratepayers $330 million per year, translating to a 15% to 20% increase in supply costs (an extra $90 annually on utility bills). The same data shows that the plant has earned an estimated $3 billion in profits since 2001, made $150 million in after-tax income last year, and is slated to make $400 million in such income over the next five years. A study by MIT furthermore found that Millstone will be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States through 2019, while a New England States Committee on Electricity report showed that “Under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

Dominion has expressed disapproval at the governor’s investigation, saying - among other things - that the time for a study “has passed.” Governor Malloy, meanwhile, has expressed his frustration with Dominion’s lack of transparency, stating: "I think Dominion has done a bad job, quite frankly, of having this discussion with the people of Connecticut because they aren't willing to share any information ...We're asked to trust them, when, quite frankly, every national publication or opinion that I've seen about nuclear say that these are two of the most profitable reactors in the country."

“For ratepayers and legislators alike, the fundamental dilemma in the Millstone issue is being asked to reconcile the plant’s demonstrably false claims with the actual facts of the matter,” continued Fossen. “Everyone from consumer advocacy groups to the Governor agrees that the data clearly portrays a profitable company asking for more money without providing any evidence that it needs help. Given that, we must ask ourselves: if the facts were really on Millstone’s side, why would they decline to participate in the investigation at every turn?”

The study into Millstone’s financial situation is mandated under Executive Order #59, which requires the investigation be conjointly done by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). Both agencies are to report their findings to the state by next February, and recommend whether to give Millstone access to special contracts or not.
 

PETITION:

END CORPORATE WELFARE AND STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT

MASSIVE PAYOUT BEING NEGOTIATED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Representatives of the Millstone Nuclear Plant continue to push elected officials for a massive corporate payout behind closed doors.

This is despite the fact that:

  • Millstone is the most profitable nuclear power plant in the United States.

  • Lawmakers in Hartford have rejected special deals for Millstone during the last two legislative sessions.

According to press reports, senior executives at Millstone are offering the state up to $125 million in exchange for a long-term contract that the legislature has previously rejected.
If Millstone is successful in securing this proposed 5-year contract with the state, they will be taking $1.65 BILLION out of Connecticut residents’ pockets.

WHY THE RUSH?

Governor Malloy did the right thing by signing an executive order calling for an independent analysis of Millstone’s financial soundness. But rather than proving it needs help, Millstone has so far refused to provide full and complete information.

The truth is that Millstone is obligated by contract to operate until at least 2022. We can and should give independent experts the time they need to gather information which will ultimately allow policy makers to make an informed decision.  

The real question is this: if the facts are truly on Millstone’s side, why is the plant so afraid of an independent study?

CALL ON LEGISLATORS TO STOP DOMINION

We urge legislators in Hartford to reject any attempt to give Millstone a financial payout through the state’s budget, regardless of any incentives the plant is willing to give to the state in exchange. The democratic process should remain free from this type of external bartering.  

It’s time to put the pressure on Millstone, and stop this expensive and unnecessary payout -- once and for all.

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8.17.17: Amid Resistance to Financial Assessment, Stop the Millstone Payout Asks Dominion Energy What They Are So Afraid Of

For Immediate Release: August 17, 2017

 

AMID RESISTANCE TO FINANCIAL ASSESSMENT, STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT ASKS DOMINION ENERGY WHAT THEY ARE SO AFRAID OF

Hartford, CT -- The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition posed a simple question today to state policymakers regarding the Millstone Nuclear Plant and Governor Malloy’s executive ordered investigation into the plant’s financial situation to determine whether the company deserves a massive, ratepayer funded handout  – what is Millstone so afraid of?

The question comes as the first public forum mandated by the order was held today in Hartford. The EO initiates an investigation into the plant’s financial viability and weighs the necessity of providing ratepayer assistance through special legislative intervention.

Rather than being active contributors to the public and transparent process outlined in the order, executives at Millstone have said that the time for a study “has passed,” a statement which ignores the fact that ISO-NE recently confirmed that the plant is obligated to remain open until at least 2022.

Based on recent articles, it appears that Millstone is now trying to cut a backroom deal that will put the nuclear reactor into the same category as alternative energy sources and allow it to sign a special five-year contract with the state. Mark Pazniokas of the CT Mirror recently reported that Dominion (a Virginia based Fortune 500 company) was willing to give the state some sum of money in exchange for the special legislation, stating “a deal with Dominion might yield between $75 million and $125 million a year for a limited period.”

“Let’s be clear, there is no amount of money that Millstone can offer the state that will offset the dramatic increase in residents’ electricity bills,” said Matt Fossen, spokesman for the coalition. “Connecticut residents already pay among the highest electricity rates in the country. A massive corporate payout financed on the backs of ratepayers could literally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

A report commissioned by the coalition and executed by Energyzt Advisors indicated that a five-year deal would cost Connecticut consumers more than $1.6 billion over the lifetime of the contract (based on a projected $330 million additional cost to ratepayers annually).

To date, Millstone has refused to let policymakers see their financials to determine whether the company actually needs additional money. MIT recently released a report which showed that the plant is the most profitable nuclear power plant in the United States.

“The Governor was right to sign the Executive Order,” continued Fossen. “All the publicly available data shows that the Millstone nuclear plant is making money - and lots of it. But rather than taking part in a transparent public process, they’re trying cut a backroom deal. Why? Because they know the facts aren’t on their side.”

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7.25.17: Statement on EO 59: "We Look Forward to a Rigorous Investigation of Millstone’s Financial Health"

For Immediate Release: July 25, 2017

 

statement on eo 59: "WE LOOK FORWARD TO A RIGOROUS INVESTIGATION OF MILLSTONE'S FINANCIAL HEALTH"

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today after it was announced that Governor Dannel Malloy signed an executive order for a joint Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) investigation of the financial health of the Millstone Nuclear Plant:

“Governor Malloy made the right call today in seeking additional information from Millstone before any decision is made regarding financial support for the company, particularly when all the external evidence suggests the plant is profitable and is obligated to serve the energy markets until at least 2022.  

“A number of studies, from the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) to MIT and others, show that Millstone is the most profitable nuclear plant in the country and that a subsidy would cost consumers hundreds of millions annually.  The only claims to the contrary have come from executives of the plant’s parent company, Dominion Energy, and to date they have declined to document actual financial need.  

“The critical thing now will be to ensure the quality of the information the state receives about Millstone. It is essential that Dominion fully disclose the plant-level financials of Millstone, otherwise the investigation won’t be truly comprehensive or accurate. In addition, we urge PURA and DEEP to consider any potential action’s impact on Connecticut’s full generation fleet, and to hold a rigorous stakeholder process so that consumers will know exactly what’s at stake and what impact it will have on their household budgets. We are confident that a transparent, data-backed stakeholder process will prove what this coalition has been saying from the start: that Millstone does not need a ratepayer-funded corporate payout.”

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6.27.17: ISO New England Debunks Millstone Nuclear Plant’s Threat of Imminent Closure

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2017

 

ISO NEW ENGLAND DEBUNKS MILLSTONE NUCLEAR PLANT'S THREAT OF IMMINENT CLOSURE

LETTER AFFIRMS THAT PLANT IS OBLIGATED THROUGH 2022; POINTS TO AN EXISTING PROTOCOL IN CASE NATION'S MOST PROFITABLE NUCLEAR PLANT EVER RUNS INTO FINANCIAL TROUBLE

Hartford, CT -- Regional grid operator ISO-New England confirmed to Dominion Energy in a June 23rd letter that the company’s Millstone Nuclear Plant has an existing obligation to stay operational through May 31, 2021 (in fact, the plant is effectively committed in the regional capacity market through May 2022 since it missed the regulatory deadline to announce a potential retirement for that year) and additionally reiterated the existing regional regulatory requirements affecting any and all potential power plant retirements. Such statements affirm previous claims by the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition that Millstone is not at risk of imminent closure. Moreover, the ISO’s letter publicly confirms that there are other opportunities in place to provide assistance to plants needed for reliability that can demonstrate they are in actual financial distress.

“The evidence is clear: Millstone is the most profitable nuclear plant in the country and is not shutting down anytime soon. Even if it did fall on hard times, Millstone would be able to seek financial relief through the existing process as managed by the ISO-New England, instead of demanding a special legislative payout from Connecticut ratepayers based on unsupported threats of closure” said coalition spokesperson Matt Fossen.

In the letter, ISO-New England Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Vamsi Chadalavada spells out the ways in which ISO provides assistance to plants should they need it. He additionally covers the retirement bid process as well as Millstone’s current obligations to ISO. According to Chadalavada:

Dominion Energy acquired CSOs for Millstone Station Units 2 and 3 in recent Forward Capacity Auctions (FCA #8 - FCA #11), which means the plant is obligated to supply power to the regional electric grid through May 31, 2021.

ISO’s letter comes less than three weeks after the Connecticut legislative session’s conclusion, at which point a bill that could lead to Millstone receiving 10 year contracts at above market prices for the majority of its annual output, failed to pass. That legislation, S.B. 778, drew immense skepticism from lawmakers and the public in light of significant evidence showing the plant is already profitable and doesn’t need state assistance, especially since a process already exists with the regional grid operator.

According to a study by Energyzt, such a deal would raise electricity supply rates between 15% and 20% and create a wealth transfer from ratepayers to Millstone equity investors worth over $300 million per year. Further research by the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), of which Connecticut is a member, showed that “under every hypothetical scenario” Millstone will remain profitable through 2030 (a claim validated by an MIT study showing Millstone as the most profitable plant in the United States through 2019).

“The fact of the matter is that there’s nothing new to say about Millstone,” concluded Fossen. “We’ve known for months that Millstone doesn’t need a special deal, that such a deal would raise rates, and that concerns over the plant’s future are unfounded. We hope that lawmakers will recall these facts, and further hope ISO’s letter will put an end to this prolonged saga.”

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6.8.17: Statement on S.B. 106 and S.B. 778: “We Applaud the General Assembly for Ultimately Protecting Consumers and Preventing Rate Increases”

For Immediate Release: June 8, 2017

 

 STATEMENT ON s.b. 106 and S.B. 778: "WE APPLAUD THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR DECIDING NOT TO ADOPT S.B. 106 OR ITS SUCCESSOR, S.B. 778"

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today after the Connecticut General Assembly adjourned at midnight:

“As we saw throughout this entire session, legislators and the public alike gave thoughtful consideration to whether the relief sought by Millstone was necessary. We are thankful to all the ratepayers, legislators, and organizations who contributed to the months’ long debate on this important issue, and applaud the General Assembly for deciding not to adopt S.B. 106 or its successor, S.B. 778. While no one questions the value of Millstone to the state, proponents of the bill failed to demonstrate that special financial treatment for Millstone was necessary to its continued economic viability at this time.”

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6.6.17: Statement on Millstone Closure Concerns: "Don't Believe the Hype"

For Immediate Release: June 6, 2017

 

statement ON MILLSTONE CLOSURE CONCERNS: "DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE"

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today in response to claims by executives at Dominion alluding to a possible closure of the Millstone Nuclear Plant, as well as S.B. 106 - a bill that would let the plant bid on state contracts historically reserved for new wind and solar projects.

“While it may be politically expedient for Millstone to scare lawmakers about the future of the plant, the claim that Millstone is at risk of closure is entirely unfounded. Millstone is the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States, and is predicted to be so for at least the next three years. ISO-New England has a process in place that Millstone can follow if it is truly struggling – but instead, its owner is restoring to scare tactics because it wants a special deal. At a time when so many Connecticut businesses and residents are legitimately struggling, it is an outrage that the nation’s most profitable nuclear plant is crying poverty. Our message to lawmakers is follow the money – do not be fooled.”

Under existing ISO-New England rules, Millstone is obligated to stay in operation through May 2022, and would have to undergo an ISO-NE review should it declare an intent to retire after that date. Given the region’s heavy reliance on natural gas for fuel, however, it’s virtually certain that ISO-NE would deem the plant necessary and offer a contract to keep Millstone active and profitable. An additional option available to Dominion would be selling Millstone to another nuclear operator; the nation’s most profitable nuclear plant should have no trouble finding a buyer, especially since two New York nuclear plants just recently changed hands.

Concerns over a potential Millstone closure have been repeatedly met with skepticism. Stakeholders have frequently pointed to an MIT study which showed that Millstone will be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States through 2019, while others have cited an Energyzt report showing that the plant has made $3 billion in profits since 2001 and will earn $400 million in after-tax income over the next five years. Additionally relevant is a recent analysis performed by London Economics International for the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), of which Connecticut is a member, which found that “under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

“Millstone will insist it’s not threatening an imminent closure, but instead warn about a potential risk down the road. But don’t believe the hype. Both of these concerns are palpably unwarranted given the plant’s financial projections and the protocols in place,” Fossen added.

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5.22.17: Statement on Both Connecticut Utility Companies Confirming Millstone Payout Will Raise Rates

For Immediate Release: May 22, 2017

 

statement on both connecticut utility companies confirming millstone payout will raise rates

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today after top officials from both utility companies serving Connecticut (Eversource Energy and United Illuminating) publicly denounced S.B. 106, a bill that would let the Millstone Nuclear Plant bid alongside wind and solar for state contracts historically reserved for renewable energy sources:

“The fact that both of Connecticut’s utility companies are together on the record saying this bill is bad for consumers and ultimately a payout for Millstone is telling. Between several studies from energy experts, countless public statements from consumer advocacy groups, energy analysts, and everyday citizens – and now a full repudiation from Eversource and UI – the evidence is clear. S.B. 106 would only pad Millstone’s profits while raising rates on consumers - which is why it’s nothing more than a corporate payout.”

The utilities’ remarks were made by Eversource President of Electric Operations, Craig Hallstrom, and United Illuminating President and CEO, Tony Marone, and appeared as a guest commentary in CT Viewpoints. Among their criticisms are that Millstone hasn’t demonstrated a financial need, the bill would cost consumers millions of dollars more, and create an economic disaster for state businesses.

The authors write that Millstone’s owner, Dominion Energy, “is asking Connecticut residents and businesses to pay more – through what is effectively a tax on your electric bill – to keep its Millstone nuclear plant afloat, even though it hasn’t produced any evidence that it needs the money.”

The authors continue: “We know that keeping energy costs stable and affordable is important to our customers and the state legislature. So why, now, would they consider passing a bill that favors the bottom line of one company over the household budgets of millions of residents?” and conclude that “If approved, Senate Bill 106, now under consideration in the Connecticut General Assembly, would force customers of Eversource Energy and United Illuminating to pay millions more for the same energy they are already receiving from Millstone Station.”

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4.20.17: Stop the Millstone Payout Releases New Testimonial Ad, Small Business Says "A Lot of Businesses Will Have to Cut Jobs"

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2017

 

STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT RELEASES NEW TESTIMONIAL AD, SMALL BUSINESS SAYS "A LOT OF BUSINESSES WILL HAVE TO CUT JOBS, JUST SO MILLSTONE CAN MAKE EVEN MORE PROFIT"

COALITION'S LATEST TESTIMONIAL AD HIGHLIGHTS IMPACT OF MILLSTONE CORPORATE PAYOUT ON SMALL BUSINESSES

Hartford, CT -- The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition today released the newest online ad of its digital campaign against the costly consequences of a corporate payout for the Millstone nuclear plant currently being considered by the Connecticut General Assembly. According to a recent study, the bill could cost Connecticut residents $300 million annually, all while Millstone continues to be profitable.

To view the ad, click here.  

For a transcript of the ad, see below:

Miss Pavlidis: “Hi I’m Debbie Pavlidis...We’ve run a family owned business here in Torrington, Connecticut for the past thirteen years…Connecticut businesses pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country.”

Narrator: “But Millstone Nuclear Plant wants hundreds of millions more each year in a corporate payout, paid for by raising our utility bills even higher.”

Miss Pavlidis: “We can’t afford higher rates. A lot of businesses will have to cut jobs, just so Millstone can make even more profit.”

Narrator: “Ask your legislator to stop the Millstone payout.”

The ad’s release comes within weeks of a new study by Energyzt Advisors, LLC which found that S.B. 106 would cost ratepayers $300 million per year, as well as an independent report by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research which shows that Millstone is set to be the most profitable nuclear plant in the country between now and 2019. The ad also supports the coalition’s website, which was rolled out on March 2nd and gives the facts surrounding a potential payout - including the reality that Connecticut already has the highest electric rates in the continental United States, Millstone’s owner (Virginia based Fortune 500 firm Dominion Resources) made $2.1 billion in profits during 2016, and Millstone will receive nearly $600 million in additional ratepayer funded capacity payments over the next few years.

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4.10.17: Millstone Nuclear Plant Most Profitable in the U.S., According to New MIT Study

For Immediate Release: April 10, 2017

 

MILLSTONE NUCLEAR PLANT MOST PROFITABLE IN THE U.S., ACCORDING TO NEW MIT STUDY

Hartford, CT -- The Millstone Nuclear Plant in Waterford is projected to be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States between now and 2019, according to new research by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. MIT’s independent research is consistent with a litany of additionally recent data, including a study by Energyzt Advisors, LLC, an analysis by the non-for-profit New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), and other findings by financial analysts – all of which show Millstone remains profitable and financially successful.

“The MIT study definitively concludes that Millstone is not only highly profitable, but that it will in fact be the most profitable nuclear plant in the entire country for the foreseeable future,” said Matt Fossen, spokesman for Stop the Millstone Payout. “We call on Millstone’s owner, Virginia-based Dominion Resources, to stop trying to pull the wool over Connecticut’s eyes. It is time to end this outrageous money grab and stop the Millstone payout.”

The study, titled Early Nuclear Retirements in Deregulated U.S. Markets: Causes, Implications and Policy Options, assesses the financial outlook of nuclear plants across the United States. According to the data, Millstone is the most profitable among the 61 commercially operating plants in the country, with a projected net profit of $14.80 per megawatt hour of energy produced, which translates to approximately $250 million per year.

“The facts are simple: Millstone is vying to get a special deal to pad its bottom line, in order to send that money to their Virginia-based corporate parent and enhance shareholder value,” added Fossen. “At a time when Connecticut faces some of the highest electric rates in the United States, we should be alarmed when an already-profitable plant is claiming it needs more money – courtesy of consumers – to stay afloat. Yet this is exactly what Millstone is doing. Fortunately we now have a huge body of evidence that shines a harsh light on Millstone’s disingenuous claims.”

The MIT findings come on the heels of another recent report, by Energyzt Advisors, LLC (Energyzt), which showed that the ratepayer subsidy proposed by S.B. 106 would cost Connecticut consumers up to $300 million each year. Energyzt’s findings also showed that Millstone has earned around $760 million in after-tax income during the last five years, is projected to earn $400 million in after-tax income over the next five years, and will also receive $800 million in ratepayer funded capacity payments through 2021. The plant is currently receiving $79 million from consumers in such payments, while Dominion Resources earned $2.1 billion in profits last year alone.

Another report, by Bloomberg Intelligence, showed that hoped-for nuclear subsidies throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast could cost consumers as much as $3.9 billion annually on their power bills.

The NESCOE study, performed by London Economics International (LEI), titled Renewable and Clean Energy Mechanisms 2.0 Study – Phase I: Scenario Analysis (Winter 2017), finds that “Under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

Fossen noted, “The importance of the NESCOE study cannot be over-estimated. It was undertaken on behalf of – and in fact approved by – regional state energy officials, including Connecticut, and it was performed by a not-for-profit entity with assistance from a leading global energy economics consulting firm.”

NESCOE is governed by a board of managers appointed by the Governors of the six New England States and represents the collective perspective of the six New England states with respect to regional electricity matters. 

“We have an important, but fairly obvious choice to make,” concluded Fossen. “We can choose to either believe the consistent findings of leading academic and financial analysts and economic consultants, or we can allow ourselves to be persuaded by the self-serving and unsupported claims of Millstone, which are clearly more motivated by a corporate payout than the facts.”

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4.6.17: Stop the Millstone Payout Releases New Testimonial Ad, Senior Citizens Call Payout "A Big Deal"

For Immediate Release: April 6, 2017

 

 STOP THE MILLSTONE PAYOUT RELEASES NEW TESTIMONIAL AD, SENIOR CITIZENS CALL PAYOUT "A BIG DEAL"

NEW AD HIGHLIGHTS HOW CORPORATE PAYOUTS IMPACT CONNECTICUT SENIORS

Hartford, CT -- The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition today launched the next phase of its digital campaign against the costly consequences of a corporate payout for the Millstone nuclear plant currently being considered by Connecticut General Assembly. The first spot focuses on Connecticut’s seniors, the drastic effect that increased rates would have on their wallets, and comes in light of a new study by Energyzt that found that S.B. 106 and the de-facto Millstone payout it would create would cost ratepayers $300 million per year.

To view the ad on senior citizens, click here.

For a transcript of the ad, see below: 

Mr. Battle: "Well I'm Bill Battle and I'm now retired....When you're on a fixed income, and the electric bill goes up, that is a big deal."

Narrator: "Connecticut already has some of the highest electricity rates in the country. But Millstone Nuclear Plant wants a huge corporate payout, paid for by raising your utility bill...Bloomberg says nuclear subsidies could cost the Northeast $3.9 billion dollars each year."

Mr. Battle: "It really isn't fair for us to have to pay more, just so Millstone can make a higher profit."

Narrator: “Ask your legislator to stop the Millstone payout."

Collectively, the ads support the coalition’s website, which was rolled out on March 2nd. The site gives the facts surrounding a potential payout - including the reality that Connecticut already has the highest electric rates in the continental United States, Millstone’s owner (Virginia based Fortune 500 firm Dominion Resources) made $2.1 billion in profits during 2016, and Millstone will receive nearly $600 million in additional capacity payments over the next several years.

The efficient power generators officially announced their opposition to a Millstone payout on February 7th. Among their objections are Millstone’s refusal to disclose its financials, inability to support its claim that a payout would reduce rates for consumers and businesses, and failure to take advantage of existing regional opportunities to ensure the continued operation of nuclear power plants.

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4.5.17: Economic Study Highlights Historic and Continuing Profitability of Millstone Nuclear Plant, Subsidy will Cost Connecticut Ratepayers Hundreds of Millions Each Year

For Immediate Release: April 5, 2017

 

ECONOMIC STUDY HIGHLIGHTS HISTORIC AND CONTINUING PROFITABILITY OF MILLSTONE NUCLEAR PLANT, SUBSIDY WILL COST CONNECTICUT RATEPAYERS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS EACH YEAR

THIRD-PARTY STUDY CONDUCTED BY ENERGYZT DEMONSTRATES RATES FOR CONSUMERS IF S.B. 106 IS PASSED

Hartford, CT – The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition today released a third-party economic analysis showing the tremendous profitability of the Millstone nuclear plant, in addition to the economic cost of the corporate payout created by S.B. 106 for Connecticut ratepayers.

The analysis, performed by Energyzt Advisors, LLC (Energyzt) demonstrates that Millstone has been highly profitable since the plant was acquired by Virginia-based Dominion Resources, generating an average rate of return substantially higher than what is typically allowed for regulated utilities. Financial projections confirm that Millstone will continue to be profitable, even in current market conditions - and is not only highly unlikely, but unable, to retire anytime in the foreseeable future.

The detailed financial study further indicates that a corporate payout for Millstone could represent a wealth transfer of up to $300 million per year – which represents a 15-20 percent increase above retail supply prices seen in 2016, a cost that will be passed along to Connecticut residents and businesses if approved. 

“This financial assessment indicates that Millstone nuclear plant is highly profitable for its corporate owner, the Virginia-based Dominion Resources,” said Tanya Bodell, Executive Director of Energyzt and author of the study. “Any corporate payout from Connecticut consumers will provide no incremental benefit and will only transfer wealth from ratepayers to Millstone’s shareholders. Millstone is not at a risk of closure as a result of its existing capacity supply obligation to ISO-NE, and it is not at risk of closure for financial reasons. The plant could receive around $800 million in guaranteed annual revenue over the next five years if it chose to hedge using market solutions versus a legislative mandate.”

The Stop the Millstone Payout coalition concludes that this is a payout we simply cannot afford.  Connecticut residents need to ask their legislators to stop the Millstone payout. 

PROFITABLE, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE

Millstone has been consistently and hugely profitable, with after-tax net income that exceeded $150 million just last year alone, and has produced an average annual rate of return above 25 percent for Dominion. Millstone enjoyed extremely high returns before natural gas prices fell, and the plant was able to maintain profitability in recent years through successful (and voluntary) financial hedging strategies. Even in years with lower energy prices, Millstone contributed earnings to Dominion shareholders’ bottom line: “Millstone has generated substantial returns on equity, earning an estimated $2.5 billion in EBITDA and around $760 million in after tax income during the past five years alone.” 

The report also notes that, “When future capacity prices in ISO-NE are combined with reasonable projections of energy prices for the next five years, it is clear that Millstone will continue to be profitable,” earning after tax income of close to $400 million over the next 5 years. The findings additionally show that the plant will soon receive nearly $800 million in additional capacity revenue from ISO-NE through May 2021, which could be combined with market-based hedges to guarantee profitability: “Under these base case projections, Millstone is anticipated to earn close to $400 million in after-tax income over the next five years, or $80 million per year. . . Thereafter, ISO-NE’s sponsored price projection results in closer to $200 million per year in after-tax income through 2030.”

CONNECTICUT RATEPAYERS LOSE

The report also notes that if the General Assembly approves Senate Bill 106, “Connecticut ratepayers lose” because “any out-of-market support to Millstone will simply be a wealth transfer from Connecticut ratepayers to Millstone equity holders for no incremental benefit.”

The only impact the Millstone bill will have on ratepayers will be to raise wholesale electricity supply costs 15 to 20 percent, an increase in cost that would add to the already high burden that Connecticut homeowners, businesses and municipalities bear when it comes to electricity rates. 

MILLSTONE IS NOT GOING TO RETIRE

In addition to the fact that “there is no economic basis for Millstone to retire,” at least through 2030 under ISO-NE price projections, Energyzt also explains why Millstone cannot retire until at least 2022 under federally-approved rules administered by ISO-NE, the regional grid operator. Under ISO-NE rules, if Millstone had wanted to retire as of that date it would have had to inform ISO-NE last month, which means Millstone is effectively required to continue to operate through at least May 31, 2022. Even if the plant wanted to retire, ISO-NE has the ability to offer the plant financial support in order to maintain the reliability of the region’s power grid.

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The report was compiled by Energyzt, a global collaboration of experts in the energy field, using publicly available information gathered from Virginia based Dominion’s quarterly reports and other public sources.  For further information on Ms. Bodell, see: http://www.energyzt.com/bodell.html. To read the report in its entirety, click here or visit stopthemillstonepayout.com.

About Tanya Bodell: Tanya Bodell is the Executive Director of Energyzt and oversees advisory services. For nearly 25 years, Ms. Bodell has provided business advice and expert support to energy clients, interacting extensively with executives and senior management of energy companies, and adding value through development of business strategy, expert insights, and transaction support.  Ms. Bodell regularly speaks and writes articles on industry topics as a regular columnist for Pennwell Publications’ Electric Light & Power, offering bi-monthly insights on economic, policy and business dynamics impacting energy markets. She has a M.B.A. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Mathematical Economics from Pomona College.

3.30.17: Statement on Millstone Decision to Forego Retirement Bid Submittal

For Immediate Release: March 30, 2017

 

 STATEMENT ON MILLSTONE DECISION TO FOREGO RETIREMENT BID SUBMITTAL

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today in light of the Millstone nuclear plant’s decision to remain in operation until at least 2022.

“Dominion Resources’ decision to not opt Millstone out of the capacity market means it is obligated to stay open until at least 2022. Yet in meetings at the Capitol, Millstone’s lobbyists make it sound like there is a dire, impending threat to the plant’s existence. Both of these things cannot be true."

This latest development – which guarantees Millstone’s operation for another 5 years – undercuts the credibility of Millstone’s owner, Virginia based Fortune 500 firm Dominion Resources, which continues to paint Millstone as financially distressed and in need of a special deal.

“The deadline has come and gone but Millstone made absolutely no indication that the plant has any intention of closing,” Fossen added. “This is yet another sign of Millstone’s double-speak. They are trying to convince lawmakers that Millstone needs a huge subsidy – when every shred of evidence proves the plant is profitable and has no intention of shutting down.”

“The only thing SB 106 would do is give a huge corporate payout to a Virginia based company. Connecticut can't allow that to happen. It's time to stop the Millstone payout,” concluded Fossen.

Under the FERC approved tariff of the ISO-New England regional wholesale energy market, March 24th was the deadline for Millstone to indicate its desire to exit the market. If Millstone was truly in financial distress, it would have filed a submission to ISO-New England of a priced Retirement De-list or Permanent De-list bid by the March 24 deadline. The fact that Millstone did not signal any potential disruption of its obligation to provide Millstone’s capacity to Connecticut and the region means the plant is committed to operating through May of 2022.

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3.23.17: Statement on New Bloomberg Report: $3.9 Billion Annual Cost on Consumers for Nuclear Subsidies

For Immediate Release: March 23, 2017

 

statement on new bloomberg report: $3.9 billion annual cost on consumers for nuclear subsidies

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today on a new report from Bloomberg Intelligence declaring that subsidies for Northeast nuclear reactors will cost consumers as much as $3.9 billion annually:

"This report proves once and for all that Connecticut ratepayers simply can't afford the Millstone bill.  Connecticut already has some of the highest electric rates in the country.  Adding another $3.9 billion annually to the region's already high energy costs could very well be the breaking point for many residents and businesses. It's just wrong to ask them to shoulder an even greater burden just so Millstone's Virginia-based corporate overseer Dominion can line its pockets. We strongly urge legislators to act now and stop the Millstone payout."

For more information on the report, please click here. Further analysis can also be found by clicking here.

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3.21.17: Statement on Millstone Nuclear Bill: "We Need Legislators to Say Enough is Enough and Stop the Millstone Payout.”

For Immediate Release: March 21, 2017

 

Statement on Connecticut S.B. 106: "we need legislators to say enough is enough and stop the millstone payout"

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today on S.B. 106 - a bill pertaining to the Millstone nuclear power plant, owned and operated by Virginia based Dominion Resources, Inc. - following its discussion and vote in committee:

“This is a bad bill that will raise rates for Connecticut consumers and businesses, who are already struggling to get by in a state that has some of the highest utility bills in the country. Dominion is a highly profitable company that does not need a corporate handout and has no intentions of closing Millstone. Now more than ever, we need legislators to say enough is enough and stop the Millstone payout.”

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3.13.17: Statement on Millstone Nuclear Bill: "A Huge Corporate Payout - Funded by Raising Utility Bills for Businesses and Residents"

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2017

 

Statement on Connecticut on s.b. 106: "a huge corporate payout - funded by raising utility bills for businesses and residents"

Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today on S.B. 106, a bill pertaining to the Millstone nuclear power plant, owned and operated by Dominion Resources, Inc. The bill's language was announced to the public today.

"This bill is bad for residents and bad for business," said Fossen. "It would provide Millstone a huge corporate payout -- funded by raising utility bills for businesses and residents. It is a cost Connecticut cannot afford. The Legislature needs to vote against this bill and stop the Millstone payout.”

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