ISO New England applauds Connecticut governor Rowland for vetoing power plant emissions legislation

HOLYOKE, Mass., June 22, 2001 — ISO New England today commended Connecticut Governor John Rowland for vetoing legislation that would have compromised the reliability of the region’s power system, and said it will continue to work with state lawmakers to develop new legislation that fully considers both environmental and reliability concerns.

“We applaud Governor Rowland for making the politically difficult decision to veto this legislation,” Gordon van Welie, ISO New England ‘s President and Chief Executive Officer, said. “It is important, now, for all those involved in this issue to work on a compromise plan that will accomplish the environmental goals without jeopardizing the state’s energy future.”

The legislation would have six older power plants, fired by fossil fuels and located in Bridgeport, Middletown, Milford, Montville, New Haven and Norwalk, to upgrade their facilities to meet current federal emission standards by the end of 2004.

“We appreciate the good intentions behind the legislation, but the new emission standards were unrealistic and unworkable, and would have left Connecticut with inadequate energy resources,” van Welie said. “While the current supply of electricity is adequate to meet the demands of New England’s six million electricity customers, it is dependent on the generating capacity of all existing power plants in all six states.”

The problems would have been particularly severe in southwestern Connecticut, where transmission is constrained and the region is dependent on power plants that operate in that area. Van Welie said that Governor Rowland, the state legislature, the environmental interest groups, the State Siting Council, and transmission companies should work together with the ISO to support transmission expansion in Connecticut.

“We need to work together to improve the transmission system in Connecticut,” said van Welie. “ISO New England is currently working on a regional transmission expansion plan for New England that will include Connecticut’s southwest corner where transmission constraints are the most serious in the state.”

ISO New England’s role, as mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), is to ensure the reliable and secure operation of New England’s electric system.

“It is our responsibility to intervene whenever the reliability of New England’s electricity supply is threatened,” van Welie said. “The legislation the Governor vetoed would have jeopardized the finely tuned balance of supply and demand throughout the New England region. As the Governor and lawmakers work toward a compromise, our role will not change.”

ISO New England Inc. is the not-for-profit corporation responsible for the day-to-day reliable operation of New England’s bulk generation and transmission systems with an installed capacity of almost 26,000 megawatts. In addition to operating the bulk power grid, ISO New England is the administrator of the region’s wholesale electricity marketplace and the Open Access Transmission Tariff on behalf of the New England Power Pool. ISO New England is based in Holyoke, Massachusetts.