Shumlin says lawmakers need energy contract before re-licensing vote
02/18/09 6:34AM By John Dillon
(Host) Legislative leaders say they need to know what Vermont Yankee will charge for electricity if they are to vote this year on the plant's future.
Entergy Vermont Yankee has so far declined to offer utilities a power contract for electricity sold after 2012. That's when the plant's license expires. Yankee needs approval from the Legislature to operate for another 20 years.
Senate President Peter Shumlin says lawmakers can't vote on the license extension unless they know how much Yankee power will cost.
(Shumlin) ``If we don't know what the deal is for our constituents, what the price is going to be over the next 10 or 20 years, it's impossible to make a determination.''
(Host) Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith gave Yankee a deadline to come up with a deal by today.
(Smith) ``Let me be clear, I believe it will be an uphill struggle to make a decision this late in the session anyway. We're reducing the session to 16 weeks to save taxpayers money. We're facing a fiscal crisis. We have a lot on our plate. But it would definitely be out of the question to consider it in this session if we don't have a deal by February 18.''
(Host) Yankee spokesman Rob Williams says Yankee will not offer a new power contract today.
Williams says ratepayers will benefit because of a revenue-sharing agreement between Yankee and the utilities.
(Williams) ``I think when people take a close look at the value that is already in place as ordered by the Public Service Board that a reasonable person would see that this plant provides tremendous benefit for the state, even without a power purchase agreement.''
(Host) Vermont Yankee wants lawmakers to decide the issue this year, while it also seeks approval from the state Public Service Board and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.