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Northeast Utilities’ Form 10-K SEC filing: lowering expectations for completing the NPT

13 Mar

The 10-K is the annual report to the Securities Exchange Comm. that provides a comprehensive overview of the company for the past year. NU filed it on 2/24/2012, before HB 648 was signed into law.

The statement concerning HB 648 and eminent domain suggests that NPT was still lobbying hard against 648 as late as February 24 and had some reason to believe it might still derail it. If 648 were to be signed into law, as it was this week, NU sounds much less certain than it has in the past — basically, they lower expectations by saying “we think we can buy up the land we need but no assurances.” The new timetable for NP – in service 4th Q of 2016.

“On February 8, 2012, the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill that could potentially prohibit the use of eminent domain for the development of any “non-reliability“electric transmission projects such as Northern Pass. The bill is currently awaiting action by the Governor. We are reviewing the potential impact of the bill on NPT, should it be enacted, including its effect on the project’s route, cost and schedule. We believe that NPT will be able to acquire the necessary rights along an acceptable route, which would make it feasible to construct the project even if the bill is enacted. Given the ultimate design needs of the project, along with siting and permit requirements, which will vary depending upon the route ultimately selected, there is a possibility for further delay in commencement of construction.” (pp. 16-17)

NU asserts that there’s no risk associated with EMF, but simultaneously undercuts that assurance when says that it uses “designs” to reduce EMF, as recommended by public health organizations:

“For more than twenty years, published reports have discussed the possibility of adverse health effects from EMF associated with electric transmission and distribution facilities and appliances and wiring in buildings and homes. Although weak health risk associations reported in some epidemiology studies remain unexplained, most researchers, as well as numerous scientific review panels, considering all significant EMF epidemiology and laboratory studies, have concluded that the available body of scientific information does not support the conclusion that EMF affects human health.

“We have closely monitored research and government policy developments for many years and will continue to do so. In accordance with recommendations of various regulatory bodies and public health organizations, we reduce EMF associated with new transmission lines by the use of designs that can be implemented without additional cost or at a modest cost. We do not believe that other capital expenditures are appropriate to minimize unsubstantiated risks.” (p. 21)

Read the full report. Click on the last link for the 2/24/2012 10-K form.

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