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Green Mountain pulls out of Connecticut blaming lack of competition

Citing a lack of competition, Green Mountain Energy has told its 1300 customers in Connecticut that it will leave the state March 31. "We just can't have a competitive market with just one energy supplier," says Green Mountain's John Holtz. "We don't need to stay operating in states that don't support a competitive market." He added that it is unlikely the situation will change this year, forcing the retailer to make a business decision to pull out. Green Mountain, which also markets renewable energy in California, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas, launched its program in Connecticut in January 2001. But the competitive market has failed to develop, Green Mountain says. The state's only deregulated utility charges its residential customers an average of $0.0564/kWh -- a price that Green Mountain says is artificially low. Green Mountain must charge a premium of nearly $0.012/kWh more, a gap that has not garnered the marketer many customers. In addition, Green Mountain buys its wind energy from Atlantic Renewable Energy's 30 MW Fenner project in New York State's Madison County. Recent New England Independent System Operator rules require the company to schedule wind deliveries hourly, layering on even more costs. Holtz says the alternative, which is buying the green attributes of wind projects for customers, does not really deliver on the company's promises. Green Mountain will keep its license to do business in Connecticut, which is due to complete its phase-in of a state deregulation plan at the end of the year.

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