NH manufacturers face two major crises
To the editor:
Manufacturers, who employ over 68,000 people, pay the highest hourly wages, and give the best fringe benefit packages, are in danger of having to leave the state of New Hampshire.
The biggest crisis is the highest cost for energy, in particular, electricity. The second-largest crisis is the lack of skilled workers needed to fill the large quantity of openings in the manufacturing industry.
The cost of electricity for the quantity we use is approximately three to four times more expensive than if we were located in one of the southern states.
My concern is that, up until now, there has been little or no interest in the problem in our state government. It appears that solutions that have been offered, such as Northern Pass or using inexpensive natural gas to feed our existing fossil-fueled generating facilities, are not high on the list. Vermont and Maine have their Northern Pass approved, why not New Hampshire?
We in manufacturing have to compete with competitors located in other states and other countries, especially China. We have seen many of our product gravitate toward China, and this is very upsetting. Something can be done to correct this, hopefully with new leadership coming to Concord in 2017.
Northern Pass must be built on an emergency basis to ensure New Hampshire has electricity by 2019. In 2019, several of our old generators must close because of atmosphere problems and the closure of the large nuclear generator, Pilgrim Station in Massachusetts, which provides a large amount of electricity to New Hampshire.
For manufacturers to expand and stay in New Hampshire, we need some guarantees that energy costs will be drastically lowered and we must be assured that there will be an adequate supply. Without these guarantees, sheer competition will drive us to move to other states.
Please, governor, Legislature, commissioners and government agencies: Let’s do something now.
John F. Olson
Executive vice president