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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