PUC grants Laidlaw conditional approval on PPA
By Barbara Tetreault Apr 19, 2011 12:00 am
CONCORD – The N.H. Public Utilities Commission late yesterday afternoon issued granted conditional approval to a proposed purchase power agreement between Public Service of N.H. and Laidlaw Berlin BioPower/Berlin Station. The PUC said it found the agreement as filed not in the public’s interest. It noted the PPA could cost as much at $2 billion over its 20 year term. But the agency said it “would, however, approve a modified PPA complying with certain conditions that mitigate risk to PSNH’s default service customers and reduce total payments to approximately $1.3 billion over the term of the PPA”. The hearing on the PPA ran for five days this winter and parties had until Feb. 14 to submit closing arguments. The city intervened in favor of the PPA and urged the PUC to rule quickly on the agreement. The decision comes just days before Laidlaw/Berlin station is set to appear before the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee this Friday on its joint request to transfer the certificate of site and facility from Laidlaw to Berlin Station. The SEC last year granted Laidlaw conditional approval to construct and operate a 70-megawatt biomass plant on the former mill site. Laidlaw has since announced reorganization and a change in its major contractor and fuel supplier. One of the conditions of the SEC certificate is an approved PPA. Look for reaction to the PUC decision in Wednesday’s Berlin Daily Sun.
Post mass WWW bash and phony online SEC complaints, LLEG resumes trading on the Grays tomorrow morning.
Great opportunity to glom up shares by intentional dumpers, week-knees and ijits..!!! The company itself is moving forward as usual, and the current hassle will prepare them for OTCBB filing after they are back on the Pinks.
May 23, 2011 - Marcum LLP Recognized in National Ranking of SEC Audit Firms
Firm Added to ANR's Prestigious List of "Non-Big Four National Auditing Firms"
NEW YORK, May 23, 2011 -- Marcum LLP, one of the largest independent public accounting and advisory services firms in the nation, today announced that it has been added to the listing of "non-Big Four national auditing firms" by Accounting News Report's (ANR) Auditor Rankings, Marcum's first-ever addition to the prestigious national firm individual breakout group. ANR also publishes quarterly Auditor Change Rankings which evaluate the Big Four and the other seven national auditing firms based on their changes in auditing publicly-traded companies for the calendar year.
"The current era of increasing regulatory scrutiny has created an undeniable drive for auditor quality," said David Bukzin, Partner-in-Charge of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Assurance Practice at Marcum LLP. "Our inclusion by ANR among the nation's 'non-Big Four national auditing firms' is validation for what our clients have known all along: that Marcum's SEC assurance services are among the nation's best in terms of quality-of-service, efficiency, integrity and technical expertise."
The ranking is a direct reflection of the quality of Marcum's growing practice, the ninth largest SEC practice in the nation among the top 100 firms according to AuditAnalytics.com. During the first quarter 2011, Marcum won four new SEC client engagements.
"Marcum's inclusion among the top national auditing firms is a testament to the tremendous technical skill of our SEC practice as well as the dramatic growth taking place here at the firm," said Jeffrey M. Weiner, Managing Partner of Marcum LLP. "Within the past 36 months, we've executed on our strategic plan to grow from a regional firm to a national player. Today, we have one of the top ten largest SEC assurance practices in the U.S., which is aligned with our goal to be a true alternative to the Big Four."
Marcum's SEC assurance practice provides a variety of services to public companies, including:
* Annual Audits and Periodic Filing Requirements of theSecurities and Exchange Act of 1934 * Private Placement memorandums and offerings exempt fromregistration under Regulation D * Quarterly Reviews in compliance withSAS100 * Mergers and acquisitions * IPOs and Registration Statements of the Securities andExchange Act of 1933 * Reverse mergers and recapitalizations * Investment Company Act of 1940Compliance * Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) * Audit committee guidelines * Going private transactions * Tax planning and compliance * Advising businesses on raising capital and securingfinancing * International Tax and Transfer Pricing Advisory Services * Internal audit function * Systems Analysis and consulting * Back office services
Marcum LLP is registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), complies with the quality control standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and adheres to a program that addresses independence, integrity, and objectivity; personnel management; acceptance and continuance of clients; engagement performance; and monitoring.
Marcum's review department serves as a technical resource for guidance with respect to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), SEC Compliance, and all other accounting and audit-related issues. Marcum is also reviewed tri-annually by a process called "Peer Review" to ensure it meets, adheres to, and is in compliance with the standards established by the SEC Practice Section of the AICPA.
In addition to performing audits on financial statements of its regular clients, Marcum performs specialty audits and offers a vast array of services to specialty industries.
The members of Marcum's SEC practice provide counsel on the complex rules associated with regulatory compliance and each receive ongoing education and training in SEC accounting and reporting issues.
About Marcum LLP Marcum LLP is one of the largest independent public accounting and advisory services firms in the nation. Ranked within the top 15 firms by Inside Public Accounting and Accounting Today, Marcum offers the resources of more than 1,100 professionals, including more than 150 partners, in 23 offices throughout New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Grand Cayman, China and Hong Kong. The Firm's presence runs deep with full service offices strategically located in major business markets. Marcum is a member of the Marcum Group, the gateway to a group of organizations that provide a variety of professional services including accounting and advisory, technology solutions, recruiting, and wealth management. These organizations include Marcum LLP; MarcumStonefield, a division of Marcum LLP; Marcum Technology LLC ; MarcumBuchanan Associates LLC; Marcum Search LLC; Marcum Financial Services LLC; Marcum Cronus Partners LLC; and Marcum Bernstein and Pinchuk LLP.
Mayor predicts agreement imminent in biomass stalemate
By Barbara Tetreault Jun 29, 2011 12:00 am
BERLIN — Mayor Paul Grenier said he believes a deal between Public Service of N.H. and the wood-fired Independent Power Producers will be reached soon. Such a deal would allow construction of the Laidlaw/Berlin biomass plant to get underway by late July or early August. “I’m hopeful a deal is imminent,” he said yesterday. Last week, the Public Utilities Commission denied the IPPs motion for a rehearing of its decision to approve a 20-year power purchase agreement between PSNH and Berlin Station. The IPPs have 30 days to decide whether to file a threatened appeal to the state Supreme Court. Gov. John Lynch has played a direct role in attempting to broker an agreement between PSNH and the IPPs and a meeting between the parties was scheduled to take place yesterday. Four of the IPPS are pushing for short-term deals with PSNH to replace their expiring agreements. They are also concerned about competing for wood. Richard Cyr of Cate Street Capital, which owns the pulp mill property, said he feels the IPPs are wrong to hold up his project to advance their own cause. “This has nothing to do with us,” he noted. Rather, Cyr said, the smaller biomass plants are trying to force PSNH to deal with them by putting the project between PSNH and Berlin Station at risk. “It’s blackmail plain and simple,” Cyr said. “It’s like pushing someone else in front of a train so you don’t get hit.” Cyr noted the IPPs at one time had 20-year agreements with PSNH. He said they reaped the money but choose not to reinvest in their plants to make them more environmentally competitive. Both Cyr and Grenier said construction of the 75-megawatt biomass plant on the former pulp mill site will be a major economic boom for Berlin. “It’s going to be a real good shot in the arm,” said Cyr. It will take over two years to construct the plant at a cost of $228 million, exclusive of financing charges. Grenier said at the peak of construction 380 people will be employed on the project. Once the plant is up and running, it will employ 40 people directly and is expected to generate as many as 200 indirect jobs in the forest industry. The city and Berlin Station are negotiating a payment in lieu of taxes that is expected to make the biomass plant the city’s largest taxpayer. Over the past two months, Cate Street Capital has been preparing the site and doing some demolition to get ready for the start of construction. “We have shown nothing but commitment to that project,” said Cyr. But Cyr said the longer the biomass plant gets delayed the harder it is to finance. “Hold out long enough and you can kill our project,” he said. .
Posts: 143 | Registered: May 2008
| IP: Logged |
Korean-Owned Power Co. Undercuts Biomass Plant in New Hampshire, Costs the State 1,200 Jobs Daily Kos - Fri Jul 08, 2011 by WePartyPatriots
Cate Street Capital Spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne said Whitefield Power and Light requested over $13 million in cash payments for their plant. Grenier said Whitefield Power and Light, which is owned by Korea East-West Power, is an example of a foreign company interfering with North Country business. Grenier said all parties suffer from the collapse of the Berlin Station. He said there will be no short term power agreements that the smaller biomass plants say they need to survive.
A crushing blow was dealt to New Hampshire's North Country this week when months of negotiations were undercut at the eleventh hour by a Korean-owned power company's demands for $13 million in cash payments.
Whitefield Power and Light, owned by Korea East-West, has been singled out as the lone independent power producer (IPP) unwilling to complete a deal that would have allowed construction to begin on the Berlin Station Biomass Plant. The point of contention during the talks was a deal struck between the Berlin plant and Power Service New Hampshire (PSNH) that would have allowed PSNH to purchase power from the Berlin station. Berlin's Mayor, Paul Grenier, is incensed and has been vocal in the press:
“In the end it was greed beyond belief that stopped this project,” Grenier said. Grenier said the parties have been negotiating for months with Gov. Lynch leading the effort to get an agreement. He said there had been five meetings within the last two weeks.
The mayor said Cate Street Capital needed an agreement in place by June 30 because its construction contract with Babcock and Wilcox expires this month and would have to be re-negotiated. He said PSNH had agreed to give the biomass plants short-term power purchase agreements which were a main demand. But then, Grenier said at the eleventh hour the biomass plants made additional demands. In particular, he singled out Whitefield Power and Light for its demand for cash payments. Whitefield was not seeking a short term power purchase agreement.
The Berlin plant had broad support, not only of the mayor, but of the construction and steel industries. The other five IPPs have been forced to defend themselves, suggesting they took the necessary steps to keep the Berlin plant alive:
The wood-fired independent biomass plants charge Cate Street Capital walked away from negotiations just when it looked like the parties were close to an agreement.
“The fact they withdrew from the deal so abruptly came as a shock to everyone,” said Mike O’Leary, plant manager for Bridgewater Power Company. “We were very very close to a deal.” Cate Street Capital declared its efforts to construct a 75-megawatt biomass plant on the former pulp mill site are dead after the parties failed to reach an agreement by the Portsmouth company’s deadline of June 30.
Cate Street Capital, who was brokering the deal, has countered that a deadline was needed to keep construction on course. This too has been labeled false by the IPPs:
O’Leary said the June 30 deadline was not part of the discussion when the negotiations first got underway. He said Cate Street Capital inserted the deadline part way into negotiations. O’Leary said all the IPPs have done is exercise their business rights by filing as intervenors in the PUC docket on the power purchase agreement between Berlin Station and PSNH. He said appealing the PUC’s order to the Supreme Court is part of the process.
O’Leary said Cate Street Capital is trying to make the IPPs the villain when all they are trying to do is protect their jobs, infrastructure, and businesses. He noted that the IPPs have all been in business for a long time. His plant opened in 1984. In contrast, he said Cate Street has never built, owned, or operated a biomass plant.
Life after the blame game is not looking too bright in the North Country. The Berlin construction site is already being dismantled and the ripple effect of the unraveling will be felt deeply in the logging industry as well, officials say. Conceptually, the fall of Berlin Station provides an example of the potential jobs impact of free trade, according to Shawn Cleary, Business Agent for Ironworkers Local 7 and a representative of the New Hampshire Building and Construction Trades Council. Not one, but two projects run by foreign-owned companies have jeopardized New Hampshire jobs:
It's hard to estimate the manhours. but we are talking about over 300 construction jobs. I was supposed to be sending rod-busters there next month. One Independent Power Producer is causing this deal to fall apart. Whitefield Power and Light, a fully owned subsidiary of Korea East-West, has aggressively lobbied for a deal that would guarantee Power Service New Hampshire (PSNH) buy their power, so they could remain viable. They got that guarantee and are now adding a demand for a cash payment in exchange for withdrawing their appeal to the NH Supreme Court.
One State Senator from the North Country says as many as 1200 direct and indirect jobs will be lost as a result of this project being scrapped. That number is totally plausible when you consider that just last month, Isaacson Steel, of Berlin, NH filed Chapter 11 and made a tough decision to furlough over 70 shop workers as part of a reorganizing plan. Many of those workers have yet to return to work.
Another project in the North Country is Brookfield renewable Power's Wind Farm. Brookfield Renewable is based in Toronto, Canada and has hired RMT of Madison, Wisconsin to erect the towers. Despite the available pool of local New Hampshire Ironworkers, RMT is importing their own from Wisconsin and Utah. Tracy Bredeson, the company's Human Resources Director, told Local 7 Iron Workers that they very often enter into single project agreements around the country, wherein they employ local Ironworkers referred from the Union Hall. But, RMT felt that they didn't need to on the Coos County project.
New Hampshire's North Country is a rural area with a rich union history. Generations of workers were employed in the once bustling paper mills. Now Berlin and the surrounding communities have almost double the unemployment rate of the rest of the state. Cleary is inclined to connect the dots drawn by off-shore investment:
I don't know how the United States is ever going to pull out of this recession if we continue to let foreign competitors slow us down.