Utility Leader Warns New England Is Reaching A ‘Tipping Point’


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The president of New England’s largest generator association is warning of a looming “tipping point” unless regulators in the region reverse course.

Dan Dolan, the president of the New England Power Generators Association, is calling on policy makers to bring back market competition into the region’s electricity generation industry, warning that rampant government regulations and subsidies will ultimately affect grid reliability and consumer costs.

“On the current trajectory, the state of the New England electricity market will rapidly worsen, requiring further out-of-market actions to adequately compensate generators in order to preserve grid reliability,” Dolan cautioned in a Wednesday op-ed for Utility Dive. “State subsidies will beget reliability subsidies, driving consumer costs ever higher and doing away with future market-based investments for new or existing power generation.”

The New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) is certainly immersed in the Northeast’s utility industry. NEPGA members own and operate more than 100 power plants in the six-state region, making up 84 percent of New England’s total generation capacity. Their fuel mix includes a wide range of different sources, including natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, hydro and wind — all of which are subject to market intervention.

This is not the first time New England’s electricity market has been criticized.

Gordon van Welie, the president of ISO New England, in February warned of rolling blackouts because of growing fuel security issues. Robert Powelson, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, said in April that rising electricity prices and the prospect of rolling blackouts in the region were “like a horror story.”

Residents in the six-state region that make up New England consistently pay higher rates for electricity than their peers in the rest of the U.S. As a progressive enclave, regulators in the Northeast have prioritized emission reductions with renewable energy mandates, subsidies and fossil fuel regulations.

NEPGA is calling on ISO New England — the region’s regulating body for electricity generators and providers — and other regulators to revitalize the market structure, allowing competition to play a greater role in setting the price of energy while ensuring enough electricity is being supplied to customers. (RELATED: Every State In New England Is Reconsidering Their Subsidies To Solar Power)

“The choice is straight-forward: maintain reliability through a game of chicken — with plants announcing retirement only to be handed cost-of-service contracts to keep them around — or ensure opportunities for facilities to competitively bid against each other to supply needed electricity services,” Dolan continued.

NEPGA did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation in time for publication.

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