Dear Members of the Public Service Board
On June 6th, I sent you an email and pictures showing the damage to my small hydro power plant located on the Missisqoui River. Subsequently, you communicated with me requesting additional information.
My hydro plant is a small one with three turbines and was established approximately 40 years ago by my father. It has been in constant operation since that time with shut downs for maintenance only. The excess electricity from this small operation has been sold to the Vermont Electric Coop. It has been extremely dependable in the production of electricity and survived major storms including Hurricane Irene. On May 29th, after approximately 1-2 hours of a rain strom, the plant was destroyed. The river was unable to stay within its banks and the new banks became the dooryard to my hydro plan. The waters were so severe that they reached a new height of approximately 8 feet or to the top of the door into the plant. The building is in three levels: walls were stripped of their coverings, doors removed, stairs to the lower level ripped from the building, tools and air compressor removed, the tunnel to the turbines stripped of its cover and filled with boulders, sand, debris, papers, clothing, and other objects swept away, as well as damage to the turbines to the degree that they are not operable.
My parents are in the mid-nineties and have always lived in Lowell. Never have they seen the river as it was on May 29th. Again, Hurricane Irene did more damage to my home property than this May storm did. I attended a public meeting regarding storm water runoff standards in Lowell with both state personnel representing the Lowell Project, GMP People, as well as experts representing individuals concerned with the planned management of run off from the mountain. All present heard that the system as planned by GMP would fail. And fail it did. Our local papers noted that GMP had staff on the Mountain in anticipation of problems in order to address them as they occured and that this staff was unable to respond due to the lightning. It is also reported that with the failure of some of the systems, run off occurred on all access roads. Unless one viewed the damage to a rather prescribed portion of the town, it is hard to believe.
My power plant is approximately two miles downstream from the Lowell project and is well above flood plains designated for the town. I should note that I am not the only one who has suffered financial loss because of this event. I believe it will happen again if a better plan for the run off is not demanded by the Public Service Board. I also believe that the Board should instruct GMP to pay for damage caused by their project.
The mission of the Board is to support decisions, project, and other matters in a manner that protects and is the in the best interest of the public. Please assist us citizens that suffer the consequences of bad judgement on the part of a corporation.