Northeast Utilities sells 13 hydro plants in two states

Northeast Utilities has agreed to sell generating assets in Connecticut and Massachusetts, including 13 hydro plants, for $1.34 billion to Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm. Assets include the 1,000-MW Northfield Mountain pumped-storage project in Massachusetts and 12 conventional hydro stations totaling about 190 MW.

The sale, announced by the companies July 24, includes 15 power plants at 14 sites totaling nearly 1,400 MW. The largest asset is Northfield Mountain. In addition to the dozen other hydro projects, the sale includes a 146-MW coal-fired power plant and about 20 MW of combustion turbine peaking generation. The sale price includes the assumption of $320 million in debt, the companies said.

The sale is expected to close by the end of 2006, subject to regulatory approvals. NU said it would use proceeds from the sale to invest in its regulated businesses, retire debt, and pay taxes.

The hydro plants were included in Northeast Generation’s $865.5 million purchase of hydro and fossil plants from NU subsidiaries Connecticut Light &Power Co. and Western Massachusetts Electric Co. in 2000. They include:
o CLP’s Western System on the Housatonic, Bantam, and Still rivers, including 8.4-MW Bulls Bridge, 32-MW Rocky River, 43-MW Shepaug, 28.9-MW Stevenson, 320-kW Bantam, 10.2-MW Falls Village, and 600-kW Robertsville;
o CLP’s Eastern System on the Shetucket and Quinebaug rivers, including 2-MW Scotland, 1.8-MW Taftville, and 2-MW Tunnel; and
o Northfield Mountain group on the Connecticut River, including Northfield Moun-tain, 53-MW Cabot, and 6-MW Turners Falls.

Public Service of New Hampshire keeps its hydro plants

NU previously said it would keep nearly 1,200 MW of regulated generation in New Hampshire, which serves customers of subsidiary Public Serv-ice Co. of New Hampshire. PSNH owns nine small hydro plants in New Hampshire and Vermont totaling 68 MW.

The New Hampshire Legis-lature passed a bill in 2003 prohibit-ing PSNH from selling its fos-sil and hydropower assets before April 30, 2006. However, a PSNH spokesman said there still are no plans to sell the PSNH plants.

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