Spectra Energy Pushes Back Against New England Pipeline Naysayers

terminatorTwo weeks ago the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (MA’s highest court) ruled that utility companies, which are heavily regulated and the prices they can charge controlled, cannot pass along the cost of a pipeline to electric ratepayers (see MA Supreme Court Ruling Endangers New England Gas Pipelines). The ruling had the effect of ending contracts from several utility companies with Spectra Energy for their Access Northeast pipeline–to bring Marcellus/Utica natural gas to critically starved-for-gas New England. We speculated at the time that this action may end the Access Northeast project. But a week later, Spectra Energy committed to continuing the project (see Spectra Spits in MA High Court’s Eye – We’ll Still Build Pipeline). However, regional natgas distribution companies, along with LNG importer GDF Suez, continues to try and sink the Access Northeast project for selfish reasons–to suppress competition that would come from the pipeline. It’s all wrapped up in a “tariff” case now before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It’s complicated, but we’ll try and explain it in lay terms. At the root of the issue is that some existing natgas suppliers in New England benefit from lack of supply in the region (including Engie Gas & LNG, NextEra Energy Resources and PSEG). They benefit from “congestion” and lack of supply in New England–therefore Spectra has taken to calling them “Congestionaters” in their filings with FERC. We call them the Terminators…

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