Vermont State regulators are reconsidering their approval of a gas pipeline project after the utility reported cost overruns totaling 78 percent, according to a recent article in the Burlington Free Press.
The state Public Service Board has ordered hearings to determine whether a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Vermont Gas and the Department of Public Service is in the best interest of Vermonters, the article states.
The board originally approved costs of $87 million, but now Vermont Gas is looking to bill ratepayers for at least $134 million in pipeline costs, according to the Free Press. The project is expected to cost $154 million in total.
Connecticut is also allowing utilities to bill ratepayers for pipeline costs, and Massachusetts is making plans to shift utility pipeline expenses to ratepayers.
“James Dumont, a Bristol attorney who represents AARP and landowners in the case, said he sees nothing in the MOU that protects ratepayers,” the Free Press wrote. He predicted that ratepayers would eventually absorb the entire $154 million project cost. "It's a meaningless MOU," Dumont said. "We think when the board hears testimony, they'll realize there's nothing there."
To read the Burlington Free Press article, click here.