Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell says he hopes the Public Service Board has gotten a clear message from the Legislature about the proposed merger of the state’s two largest utilities.
One of the most controversial issues of the recently adjourned session focused on money that a group of lawmakers felt Central Vermont Public Service should return directly to its ratepayers, because higher rates were imposed on ratepayers ten years ago to help the company avoid bankruptcy.
However, the company and the Shumlin administration said ratepayers would be better served if the money was put into the state’s weatherization program.
The Senate passed an amendment to next year’s budget that required the PSB to rebate the money to ratepayers, but the House failed to go along with that effort. Campbell thinks the PSB is well aware of the details of the Legislative debate.
"I would think that somebody would have to be deaf not to have understood the uproar of the citizens of the state of Vermont regarding this issue," Campbell said.
And Campbell says he is particularly annoyed that CVPS will able raise rates in the future to compensate for the money it puts into the weatherization program.
"This is the part that just really frosts me quite frankly is the fact that the money being put back into the base and so the money that we supposedly, we the ratepayers, are due, that that money is now being used to increase our rates, common sense just does not even come close to understanding how that would work," Campbell said.
The PSB will look at the issue as part of its overall review of the CVPS-Green Mountain Power merger.