New England senators, witness question pipeline financing practices

For your Nexus and Rover discussions:

Many utilities (including DTE) are locking their ratepayers into long term natural gas pipeline contracts. This is troublesome particularly for proposed, unneeded pipelines. Note clips from this article.

Large gas pipelines traditionally are financed by utilities and other large customers that determine they will save substantially with lower rates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) observed. “But does it make sense to make home heating customers and small businesses bear the risk when the state lets utilities pass the costs through? Giant pipeline companies should not be allowed to force consumers to pay for these huge uneconomic projects,” she said.

N. Jonathan Peress, who is EDF’s gas air-policy director, said the magnitude of new gas pipeline projects under developed combined with what’s been built in the last 10 years could lead to a capacity bubble. “It could impose unnecessary costs on energy customers for expensive yet unneeded pipeline capacity, and ultimately constrain deployment of lower cost energy sources like wind and solar in the future,” he warned.

In Michigan, the proposed Nexus pipeline is 50% owned by an unregulated division of DTE Energy, the state’s largest utility. While only 5% of the gas flowing thru Nexus is destined for Michigan, DTE Gas and Electric is trying to have their ratepayers pay the costs (subsidize!?) for a substantial portion of this pipe in their monthly bills. The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter is protesting at the MPSC and notified FERC.

An article (based on the SC post) appeared in Michigan’s largest newspaper reporting this situation.

In Ontario, business, utility and industrial users stated to the OEB that they do not want unnecessary and costly overbuild of the Dawn Parkway pipeline needed to transport additional Rover/Nexus gas from Dawn. They believe the government will mandate reduced natural gas consumption (through RE and EE). They know they would have to pay for pipeline legacy costs as well.

If we are serious about complying with COP21 and substantially reduce GHG emissions, we cannot be locked into 20 year natural gas pipeline contracts, particularly for new, unneeded pipelines. Ratepayers must be made aware of this.

PS. I have a ton of info on why Nexus and Rover are not needed, including:

(This is the reason they decided to build these pipelines)

Rover, the pipeline to nowhere