United Illuminating, Iberdrola, PURA agree on clean up plan for New Haven site

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English Station power plant

NEW BRITAIN — Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority announced an agreement Thursday that will pay for the cleanup of the site of an old power plant, should the Iberdrola be allowed to purchase United Illuminating.

PURA said in a statement that if the merger is approved, UI and Iberdrola will pay the full amount to clean up the former English Station coal and oil burning plant, the costs of which are estimated at $30 million.

If costs are below $30 million, the state will keep the difference and use the remainder of funds to a public purpose. If the costs are more than $30 million, the companies will seek other funding to recover costs, such as grants, but have committed to spend the full amount necessary to clean up the island. PURA said they will strongly oppose any attempt by the company to recover clean up costs from ratepayers. DEEP will review and approve the work to make sure the site is clean.

Closed for years, the power plant is contaminated with a known carcinogen, polychlorinated biphenyls; heavy metals; and other contaminants. The state will work with the current owners Asnat Realty, LLC of Bayside, N.Y. and Evergreen Power, LLC, of Wilmington, Md, if the merger is approved to start the process of the cleanup.

The cleanup has been a sticking point in the approval of the merger.

“This Consent Order will provide real benefits to the city of New Haven and the neighborhoods that surround this site,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said. “It will allow us to address long-standing issues on this property that pose potential environmental and public health risks. If the proposed merger takes place and this Consent Order goes into effect, DEEP looks forward to administering it and working with all interested parties to achieve a cleanup of the English Station site.”

The parent company of United Illuminating submitted a second application for approval of it’s merger to Iberdrola at the beginning of August.

The companies submitted a new application after PURA had issued a draft decision in June saying that Iberdrola has not provided “any measurable or quantifiable commitments” that assure regulators that ratepayers will not be harmed.

At that time, the companies withdrew their application.