The five Democrats running for Vermont governor faced off Thursday. With such a crowded field they all had to move through the questions that were put to them quickly. They agreed on most issues, but not all.
The five candidates are Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, state senators Doug Racine, Susan Bartlett and Peter Shumlin, and former state senator Matt Dunne. They were welcomed by the Vermont Retail and Vermont Grocers associations at the groups' annual luncheon.
All five have called for shutting down the Vermont Yankee Nuclear power plant when its license expires two years from now. Each was asked how much they think electric rates will go up when utilities purchase replacement power -- beginning with Matt Dunne, who calls for building two biomass plants.
Dunne said, "From the people that I've talked to, if we guarantee the loans, we can actually get the cost of that power down to 7.8 cents per kilowatt hour, as compared to what Entergy offered us, which was 6 cents per kilowatt hour."
Bartlett said, "Talking with the utilities and again, you have to remember Vermont Yankee isn't all of your power bills, so you're actually paying different prices, folks would probably, I think the goal should be to see a 5 percent increase at most in your power bill."
Shumlin said, "Your bills are going to be going up somewhere between 7 and 8 percent, and there's nothing we can do about it, because the only good news is that we happen to be facing this crisis as a state at a time when power prices are much lower than they've been historically."
Markowitz said, "This is a good time to be making the change because power prices are low and my recommendation and talking to folks who run the utilities, is that we start to think about buying power from the spot market. The spot market doesn't mean that you're just buying today and it can go up tomorrow. You can lock in 3- or 4-year contracts."
Racine said, "As governor, I want to see us do better planning. I want to think ahead farther than the next election cycle and think 5, 10 and 20 years out. And in energy there are two things we're going to have to do. We're going to have to be really aggressive about efficiency and conservation. That's how we can control our own destiny."
This sets the stage for an intensive election season that will determine which of the five Democrats will face off against the lone Republican in the race, Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 8:44 AM EDT2013-06-19 12:44:57 GMT
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