Who owns Green Mountain Power?

[November 4, 2013: Hyperlinks reviewed and updated.]

An open letter to:
Members of the Vermont House of Representatives
Members of the Vermont Senate

Cc:
Governor Peter Shumlin

FYI:
Associated Press Vermont Bureau
Vermont Press Bureau
VTDigger

[My sources are: official corporation registrations by the Vermont Secretary of State and Revenu Québec (French only); and official Web sites of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Gaz Métro, Northern New England Energy Corporation and Green Mountain Power. All are hyperlinked below.]

At this eleventh hour of Vermont’s energy independence, public and legislative opinion are unaware that the merger of Central Vermont Public Service into Green Mountain Power is fundamentally different from any other, because Vermont’s electricity (and natural gas) future will be controlled forever by a foreign government.

Gouvernement du Québec (no official name in English) owns Green Mountain Power via its $176.2 billion (December 31, 2012) Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (Québec Deposit and Investment Fund, which has no official name in English).

“Created in 1965, the Caisse is now one of the largest institutional fund managers in Canada and North America. The leading private equity investor in Canada, it is also one of the 10 largest real estate asset managers in the world.”

The Caisse invests the capital of public (equivalent to our Social Security trust funds) and semi-public pension and insurance plans and similar trust funds.

The Caisse’s government-appointed chairman of the board, Robert Tessier, also was chairman of Green Mountain Power, attesting Gouvernement du Québec’s close supervision of the merger of Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service.

[November 4, 2013: Green Mountain Power’s Web site no longer lists its board of directors, but Bloomberg Businessweek does.]

Northern New England Energy Corporation wholly owns Green Mountain Power (and Vermont Gas Systems).

Gaz Métro Limited Partnership wholly owns Northern New England Energy Corporation.

Gaz Métro Inc. owns a controlling 71 percent of Gaz Métro Limited Partnership.

Silent partner (taking no part in management) Valener Energy Company (Toronto Stock Exchange: VNR) owns 29 percent of Gaz Métro Limited Partnership.

Noverco Inc., a holding company officially registered at the same business address as the Caisse, wholly owns Gaz Métro Inc. (Click on “Find an enterprise”; enter Noverco.)

Trencap Limited Partnership, officially registered at the same business address as the Caisse, owns a controlling 61.11 percent of Noverco. (Click on “Find an enterprise”; enter Trencap.)

Enbridge Inc. (New York Stock Exchange: ENB) of Calgary, Alberta, owns 38.89 percent of Noverco.

The Caisse owns a controlling 65.81 percent of Trencap Limited Partnership.

Silent partners own 34.19 percent of Trencap: three pension plans and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation.

Gouvernement du Québec unconditionally governs the Caisse (the Fund) and owns its investments (An act respecting the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec):

4. “The Fund shall be a mandatary of the State.”

4. “The property belonging to the Fund shall be the property of the State.”

5. “Board members other than the chair and the president and chief executive officer are appointed by the Government.”

5.1 “The Government shall appoint the chair of the board of directors.”

5.3 “The board of directors shall appoint the president and chief executive officer taking into account the expertise and experience profile established by the Fund and with the approval of the Government.”

13. “The board of directors shall make the regulations of the Fund. Such regulations … shall be submitted to the Government for approval, and published in the Gazette officielle du Québec. They shall be laid before the National Assembly within 15 days if then in session; if not, they shall be laid before it within 15 days after the opening of the next session.”

Gouvernement du Québec also wholly owns Hydro-Québec. Within Québec, everyone buys electricity generated, transmitted, distributed and delivered by Hydro-Québec.

By law, more than 90 percent of this electricity (the “heritage pool”) is sold to Québecers at 2.79 cents a kilowatt-hour (Hydro-Québec Strategic Plan 2009‒2013, p. 6).

Export sales at market rates subsidize Québec businesses competing with us under free trade.

In March 1999, Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power proposed a forgotten, similar merger, including divestiture of their generating assets, with publicly traded, shareholder ownership.

Gouvernement du Québec is proposing to merge and integrate CVPS and GMP with its own generating assets under its majority ownership as a foreign government.

Is this what Vermonters want?

Vermont’s energy future: a Canadian view

[Note to the reader: Simply an interested observer, I have no connection with Valener Inc., such as owning or promoting its stock.]

Vermonters can explore and invest in Vermont’s Canadian energy future through investor-owned Valener Inc. (Toronto Stock Exchange: VNR; http://www.valener.com).

Public Valener owns 29 percent of Gaz Métro Limited Partnership; private Gaz Métro Inc. owns 71 percent.

Providing customary reports to investors, Gaz Métro executives and directors have informed Valener stockholders that the Canadian natural-gas pipeline serving Franklin and Chittenden Counties will be extended from Burlington to Middlebury by 2015 (Investor Presentation, May 26, 2011, p. 22).

An interesting map of CVPS’s and GMP’s territories shows that southern and central Vermont’s energy future is already Canadian, but northern Vermont’s energy future is still in play (Consolidated Financial Report, June 30, 2011, p. 14).

It also identifies just one major power plant in Vermont: Vermont Yankee. Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan includes a natural-gas-fueled replacement as an anchor load to facilitate extending the pipeline to Middlebury and beyond (p. IV-93).

Environmental lobbyists may shoot down these projects as they did the proposed Albany-Bennington-Rutland natural-gas pipeline and power plants. If they do not object, we should ask why they changed their minds.

Howard Fairman
Vernon, Vermont, USA