March 13 – House Science, Technology and Energy Committee voted HB 142 Ought to Pass
March 23 – HB 142 passed the House with a vote of 269 – 109
April 11 – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing on HB 142
May 18 – The NH Senate unanimously voted in favor of HB 142
August 18 – Governor Sununu vetoed HB 142
“We are certainly disappointed in HB 142’s veto. It creates a serious financial event for the company and the entire northern New Hampshire economy.
“The legislature got it right with this bill. From the 18-2 vote in favor of HB 142 in the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee, to nearly 70% of the House supporting the legislation and finally, to the unanimous vote in favor in the Senate, HB 142 represents a well-considered balancing of issues. The bill is the result of more than two years of collaborative, bipartisan work by legislators and the New Hampshire Department of Energy. HB 142 provides both a sustainable path forward for Burgess’s continued operation, while also ending ratepayer subsidies.
“At a time when New Hampshire and our regional grid operator are concerned about having enough power generation, losing the seventy megawatts Burgess provides will create a new set of challenges when it comes to meeting demand, especially during winter months.
“No one can predict future power prices. At times this year, Burgess’s fixed price was significantly lower than the market rate. But Burgess’s story is not solely about cost. It is much more about value, when you consider the hundreds of jobs Burgess supports, its $70 million in annual economic benefits, and the reliable baseload energy it produces.
“The company is evaluating the impacts of the veto and considering our next steps.”
Sarah Boone, spokesperson for Burgess BioPower
A clause in Burgess BioPower’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is putting the facility’s future at risk. This mechanism, known as the Cumulative Reduction Factor, or CRF, compares Burgess’s long-term fixed price against the fluctuating day-ahead market price and tracks any difference between the two.
Eversource has a first right of refusal to purchase Burgess at the end of the PPA. The CRF total is essentially a lien on the property, offsetting the purchase price. There is a cap on the CRF of $100 million, which has been reached. The current balance is roughly $150 million.
Whether the CRF balance is an accurate reflection of actual costs to ratepayers is highly questionable. The CRF compares Burgess’s stable energy price against a market price consumers do not pay. Despite offering price stability over a long period of time, Burgess’ power is not used as part of default service. This means customers do not benefit from Burgess’ fixed price when market prices skyrocket. And even when market prices are at their highest, Burgess still gets paid the same steady, lower contract rate.
As things currently stand, the accumulated balance over the CRF cap—about $50 million right now—would be withheld from Burgess’s energy payments over 12 months beginning in December 2023. That’s not financially feasible for Burgess.
House Bill 142 would grant Burgess financial relief from repaying the roughly $50 million balance—funds that have already been collected. HB 142 does not impose any new costs on ratepayers.
HB 142 received broad bipartisan support and has been approved by the NH House of Representatives and the NH Senate.
Governor Sununu vetoed HB 142 on August 18, 2023. HB 142 now heads back to the NH Legislature for a veto override vote, which is currently scheduled to occur on January 3, 2024.