Friday February 8, 2013

LOWELL, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont’s largest electric utility has been fined $30,000 by state utility regulators for violating the permit that governed the delivery by road of turbine parts used in the construction of the Lowell Mountain wind project.

Green Mountain Power and the Public Service Department, which represents the state in utility issues, had agreed upon a fine of $7,500 for the violations that took place last summer when the turbine parts were delivered without giving proper notice to the communities through which the trucks carrying the parts passed.

But the utility regulating Public Service Board determined the fine wasn’t enough. The board increased the fine to $30,000.

"We’re really disappointed that the Public Service Board chose this level of fine for an administrative oversight," said GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure. "We had a permit. We used the route for five days due to an administrative error on our part before we had completed all technical notifications and actions."

Most of the turbine parts used in the Lowell Mountain project were shipped from southern Vermont to Lowell and from Island Pond’s rail yards to Lowell, all without violations. But the utility made a handful of shipments from northern New York to Lowell.

GMP asked for and received an expedited permit to use the northern route, but the utility did not get a waiver for a 30- to 60-day warning period for the towns in which the parts would be moved through.

The 21-turbine Lowell Mountain project started generating electricity late last year.