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Hydro-Quebec, Vermont utilities sign long-term hydropower deal

Vermont's two largest utilities announced they have signed a contract to buy hydroelectric power from provincial utility Hydro-Quebec for 26 years.

Central Vermont Public Service and Gaz Metro Ltd's Green Mountain Power, which negotiated the agreement on behalf of several smaller Vermont utilities, agreed to buy up to 225 megawatts of power from Canada's Hydro-Quebec starting in November 2012 and ending in 2038, the utilities reported.

The deal must still be reviewed by the state's Public Service Board.

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas said: "Our strong relationship with our friends in Quebec is vital to the economic well-being of Vermont. This agreement will help ensure a clean, competitively-priced energy future for Vermonters. It will provide stable renewable power at a competitive price for 26 years, starting in 2012, and will help Vermont's power supply remain arguably the nation's cleanest. Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service have negotiated an agreement that will benefit customers well beyond their service territories, for which I am most grateful."

In March, the Vermont utilities signed a memorandum of understanding with Hydro-Quebec, setting the stage for a new power supply contract for Vermont customers.

"We are very pleased to continue providing Vermonters with reliable, renewable, low-emitting energy," said Thierry Vandal, president and chief executive officer of Hydro-Quebec. "With this agreement, Vermonters are helping ensure that they maintain their commitment to renewable energy and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Like all successful longstanding relationships, ours continues to be mutually rewarding."

The purchase price for the Hydro-Quebec power will start at about six cents per kilowatt-hour, the utilities said.

The final price for deliveries starting in 2012 will be set in December 2010.

Vermont has purchased energy from Quebec for decades. In the early 1980s, the first longer-term power deals were established. The current Vermont-Hydro-Quebec contract, which was signed in 1987, phases out largely in 2016.

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