WNPR

DEEP Commissioner Says He Wants Millstone To Open Its Books

Jul 26, 2017

The future of Connecticut’s only nuclear power plant is again in question. State officials are ordering a months-long review of the Millstone Power Station’s finances, while the station’s owner is indicating it may still decide to close the plant without immediate legislative support.

Millstone wanted lawmakers to adjust the way it sells its zero-carbon power -- a move it says would aid them financially amid cheaper natural gas prices.

The idea was heavily debated this year -- but failed in the legislature.

Now, Governor Dannel Malloy is tapping the brakes, too. In an executive order, he mandated state regulators review Millstone’s finances -- with a due date for a report in February of next year.

Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said that nuclear is at “an interesting point in time.”

“It is a baseload carbon-free generation that, currently, is half of the power generation in Connecticut,” Klee said. “If it went away on any short time horizon, it would be replaced by natural gas. So, in the near term to mid-term, retention is a key concern of ours.”

Klee said DEEP is trying to understand the dynamics of the energy market. Part of that, he said, is a likely request for Millstone to release financial documents that are currently not public.

“Because it will help us make better decisions,” he told WNPR. “Now we can operate without those, we can make extrapolations -- we can use modeling, we can use other tools. But really digging into it, that would be information that could only be helpful.”

In a statement, Millstone’s owner, Dominion, says it won’t discuss disclosing its finances until a formal request is made. But the company said in a strongly-worded statement Tuesday that “without action this year, the prospects for continued operation of Millstone diminish.”