"On behalf of our members and all existing ratepayers in Chittenden and Franklin counties, AARP is pleased to learn that Vermont Gas Systems (VGS) has made the decision to drop its plans for Phase 2 of the gas pipeline project. The determination by VGS and International Paper (IP) that the project is not economically viable is a prudent one. However, it will have a direct impact on the cost of Phase 1 – a cost being paid for by current VGS customers. With Phase 1 costs already estimated to nearly double, this new development makes it even more difficult to prove that the greater good is being served by a project that will bring service to only 3,000 Addison County customers. According to VGS testimony, the rate increase for customers in Chittenden and Franklin counties will now go up at least 10% due to the elimination of Phase 2. This will represent the third substantial cost increase on a project that is just barely underway.
AARP implores the Vermont Public Service Board to give very close scrutiny to the financial viability of Phase 1, and in particular to the burden it imposes on existing ratepayers. With the cost of this pipeline project rising steadily, however, it is imperative that the VT Department of Public Service step up to provide the needed data and analysis to inform the decision on Phase 1. It is our opinion that to date consumers have not been well represented by regulators and we feel strongly that Vermonters deserve better.”
--Greg Marchildon, AARP Vermont State Director