Douglas warns Yankee bill could cause increase in rates

04/24/08 5:50PM By John Dillon

(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says Vermonters could pay higher electric rates because of a bill that requires Vermont Yankee to show it has enough money to decommission the plant.

The decommissioning bill won final approval on Thursday in the House. It will soon head to the governor for his signature - or his veto.

Douglas says he doesn't like the legislation. But at his weekly news conference, he would not say whether his opposition will lead to a veto.

(Douglas) "I've expressed concern about it, as my team at the Public Service Department, has about this proposal. But how seriously I feel I guess I'll have to think about in the near future.''

(Host) The legislation says the owners of Vermont Yankee would have to make sure there's enough money available to cover the full cost of dismantling the plant. The decommissioning fund is short now. So the bill means the owners have to get a line of credit or put several hundred million dollars into the fund to cover the costs.

Business leaders urged Douglas to veto the bill. And he reiterated their concern that Yankee would pass on the cost to customers by raising rates.

(Douglas) "If an entity is required to put up additional cash or even some other obligation that has a cost to it sooner than it had planned to do over the life of an additional license, it's certainly going to have a cost that will be reflected in rates.''

(Host) Douglas is well known for keeping his views on vetoes to himself. Reporters pressed him on the question. But he didn't break that pattern during this news conference.

(Douglas) "Well, I think I've succeeded in giving you a fairly balanced and less than satisfying answer.'' (Laughs)

(Host) Last year, Douglas vetoed a bill that would have raised taxes on Vermont Yankee. The business community opposed that legislation as well.

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vermont_yankee jim_douglas business politics
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