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Who owns Green Mountain Power?

The writer offers a version of this letter, with links to his sources, on his blog.

An open letter to Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Legislature:

At this 11th 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 $159 billion 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,” according to its website.

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 is chairman of Green Mountain Power, attesting to Gouvernement du Québec’s close supervision of the merger of Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service.

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.

Trencap Limited Partnership, officially registered at the same business address as the Caisse, owns a controlling 61.11 percent of Noverco.

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. According to “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 wholesaled 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?

Howard Fairman
Vernon

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Originally published in The Commons issue #153 (Wednesday, May 23, 2012).

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