FAQ: Who are the key players in the Northern Pass proposal?

Here are the key corporate players:

  • Hydro-Quebec (HQ) – HQ is one of the world’s largest electricity generating companies. It is 100% owned by the government of Quebec. HQ is by far the most important player. The whole purpose of Northern Pass is to give HQ a new “extension cord” to plug its generators in Quebec into the New England power grid so that HQ can capture the profit opportunity of delivering excess HQ power to southern New England.
  • Northeast Utilities (NU) and NStar - These two mid-sized, publicly-traded southern New England utilities own the equity of Northern Pass.
  • Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) – PSNH is a subsidiary of NU and the largest electric utility in New Hampshire. PSNH owns the right-of-way where most of the Northern Pass line is proposed to be located.

Think of Northern Pass as a creature of Hydro-Quebec. HQ wants more “connections” to deliver its excess power to southern New England. HQ’s revenue potential from delivering excess power over Northern Pass is huge — likely in the range of $39 billion to $59 billion over the 40-year projected life of the project.  (This is roughly the same as the GDP of New Hampshire!).

HQ has partnered with two southern New England utilities (NU and NStar) that are running US, regional and state regulatory interference to move the project forward. Although NU and NStar technically own Northern Pass, HQ stands 100% behind all financing and is paying NU/NStar an above-market return (12.56%, or approximately $70 million a year) for their work. NU brought an important asset to the table – an existing transmission line right-of-way in New Hampshire – through its subsidiary, PSNH.

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