Jul. 19, 2011
BOSTON — The administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is trying to delay a merger between utility giants NSTAR and Northeast Utilities. And Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says the governor is doing it to help the Cape Wind project.
Connecticut-based Northeast Utlities wants to buy NSTAR in a deal worth billions of dollars. The two companies together would create the largest utility in New England.
But the Patrick administration dealt a blow to the plan last week.
Administration officials asked state utility regulators to hold up the deal until NSTAR opens up its books to a full financial review. They say the companies haven’t proven a benefit for consumers.
But Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says something else is going on here. And that’s Cape Wind: The controversial wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, which Patrick has supported.
In an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, Kennedy accuses the Patrick administration of holding the NSTAR-Northeast merger hostage until the two companies agree to buy electricity from Cape Wind.
So far, Cape wind has only been able to sell half of its expected energy product. It’s still searching for buyers for the other half. NSTAR has refused to buy Cape Wind power, saying it’s too expensive. But there’s been political pressure on NSTAR to do a turnaround. And now, Kennedy says, the Patrick administration is using the merger as leverage, to force NSTAR's hand.
The Patrick administration denies the allegations.
Robert Kennedy Jr. has been one of the fiercest critics of Cape wind. He says he supports wind power, just not in this particular location.
The Kennedy family has been accused of opposing Cape Wind because it would ruin the view from its Hyannisport compound.