Update on PUC ruling from Energy & Climate Upper Valley

No decision yet from the PUC … 

Almost four months since the hearing in early September, the NH Public Utilities Commission has still not issued a decision on whether to grant Liberty a gas distribution franchise for Lebanon and Hanover.  We can expect a decision before much longer, though, and we should expect that the PUC will grant the franchise according to the terms of a settlement agreement reached by the gas company, PUC staff and the Office of the Consumer Advocate. The agreement, which was not supported by the City of Lebanon, the Town of Hanover or any of the citizen intervenors, recommends that Liberty be granted a monopoly franchise to distribute gas by pipeline in Lebanon and Hanover.  According to the agreement’s terms, construction of each of the two initial phases of the system would not start until customer commitments for gas service reach a certain threshold of guaranteed revenue.  Phase 1 would operate on a trucked-in supply of compressed natural gas (CNG), while phase 2 would employ 60,000 gallon storage tanks for liquefied natural gas (LNG), which would also be delivered to Lebanon by truck.  You’ll find more background in this report that we sent out shortly after the hearing.

… but we’re not waiting passively

Since the project can’t go forward without enough of a customer base, we intend to do everything we can to turn potential customers away from Liberty’s dirty and climate-changing gas and toward clean renewable alternatives.  Thanks to the vision and hard work of Jon Chaffee, who provided powerful testimony at the hearing, Energy & Climate Upper Valley has received two grants, from New England Grassroots Environmental Fund and the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust.  The grants will support a demonstration project, in partnership with a Lebanon business, to analyze the cost and energy benefits of retrofitting an existing commercial structure with renewable energy systems.
When the time comes we will engage in Lebanon’s land use review process.  The city’s regulators will need to hear from and see us so that they know there’s no public support for the project.
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