USA: People to Speak Out Against Cape Wind Higher Electric Bills
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound urged residents and businesses to speak out against the wildly overpriced Cape Wind project that would cost Massachusetts ratepayers billions during a Department of Public Utilities hearing in Boston on Wednesday, May 30th at 7 p.m.
NStar is seeking approval to purchase 27.5 percent of Cape Wind’s power – a condition set forth by the Patrick Administration as part of concessions necessary for approval of the recent $17.5 billion NStar/Northeast Utilities merger. Cape Wind power costs would raise household, business and municipality electric bills by $4 billion in Massachusetts households over the next 15 years – and by more than $280 million in Boston alone.
“Boston ratepayers need to make their voices heard and speak out against the high cost of Cape Wind at these public hearings,” said Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. “It makes no sense to pay $4 billion in above market costs for a single project that will provide just one percent of New England’s electricity – and that will ruin Nantucket Sound in the process.”
While Cape Wind developers have attempted to mislead consumers with claims that the typical residential customer will pay only about a dollar a month in additional costs, the reality is that the added burden for businesses and families will be much greater. For communities like Boston, Cape Wind would cost an extra $13 million in the first year alone – and an exorbitant $281 million over the life of the contract. Just as bad, many large businesses that buy electricity would be charged an extra $50,000 per year.
“The claim that Cape Wind would only cost Massachusetts ratepayers an extra dollar a month is totally misleading,” said Parker. “In a state that already pays some of the highest electric rates in the nation, this outdated, ill-conceived project would add billions in additional costs and place new burdens on businesses and families trying to make ends meet. Households would not only pay more on their electric bills each month but also pay more for goods and services.”
The Cape Wind power is priced at 22 cents per kilowatt hour(kwh) in year one, rising 3.5 percent per year resulting in an outrageous 36 cents per kwh in the final year of the contract. By contrast, today, NStar residential customers are paying 8 cents per kwh and NStar has recently sought to decrease rates to less than 7 cents per kwh because of falling natural gas prices.
NStar agreed to purchase the overpriced Cape Wind power following a series of behind-the-scenes meetings between the company and the Patrick Administration– which helped to pave the way for the NStar-Northeast Utilities merger.
“It’s ridiculous to suggest that Massachusetts ratepayers should foot the bill for concessions agreed to behind closed doors and out of the public eye,” said Parker. “We hope residents will use this hearing to reject this type of alarming backroom deal that hurts taxpayers, damages faith in our process and closes the door on other projects that are better for the environment and the Commonwealth.”
Cape Wind would span more than 25 miles over Nantucket Sound and each of the 130 wind turbines would stretch more than 440 feet in the air – higher than the Statue of Liberty and Cape Cod Canal bridges. The private developer is targeting an area that would jeopardize public safety in the air and at sea, harm marine mammals, desecrate sacred tribal land and put fishermen’s livelihoods at risk.
“Cape Wind is in turmoil and unlikely to be built,” added Parker. “It faces five pending federal lawsuits, has had a key aviation safety permit revoked by the federal court, and has significant financial hurdles raising serious doubts about whether the project will ever be a reality.”
The hearing takes place on Wednesday, May 30th at the Department of Public Utilities, 1 South Station, Fifth Floor, Boston.
Offshore WIND staff, May 30, 2012