(Host) The head of the state’s second largest electric utility said on Thursday that power companies could be more efficient if they consolidated some of their service areas.
Chris Dutton is the president and CEO of Green Mountain Power. He said that both utilities and customers would benefit if the geographic territories were less segmented. Dutton said the improvements could be accomplished through a swap, a sale, or through operating contracts among the utilities.
(Dutton) “If you look at a service territory map of the utilities in Vermont, there are 22 different companies. And many of us, including GMP, have widely dispersed service territory that is more or less an island or islands in a sea of other utility service territory.”
(Host) Dutton said he’s not trying to impose the concept on other utilities and hopes that they’ll be open to the idea. He explained how the proposal could work in one instance for Green Mountain Power.
(Dutton) “Just as a hypothetical, we have service territory really kind of scattered. Our service area is concentrated in Chittenden County, and then along the Winooski River, heading east and south, and then we have pockets of service territory along the Connecticut River all the way down to the Massachusetts border. And then we serve Wilmington and West Dover, and Dover in south-central Vermont. Well, obviously there’s a lot of geography between some of those service areas and where the biggest portion of our customer service base is in Chittenden County. If there are ways where CV, or VEC or someone else can service some of those communities more effectively than we, and we in turn can serve some of the communities in northern Vermont more effectively, then there’s grist for the mill.”
(Host) The Green Mountain Power executive said he thinks the public service commissioner, who represents ratepayers, is enthusiastic about the idea. He also said he thinks the concept would be supported by the Public Service Board. But Dutton said that it’s too soon to say if electric rates would be reduced as a result.
He made his comments at GMP’s annual meeting in Colchester.