The state of Vermont has decided not to bid on the 13 hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers being sold as part of the bankruptcy proceeding involving electric generating company U.S. Gen-New England. The decision would end more than 18 months of considering the purchase. David O’Brien, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service and a member of a special authority appointed to consider the dam purchase, was quoted as saying that the state and the two Canadian companies that were its partners in the possible dam purchase decided not to go forward. Aside from determining not to make the purchase with the partners, the state authority also decided not to recommend that the state submit a bid on its own, according to O’Brien. A draft resolution circulated to board members said that a conservative forecast of the dams’ earnings indicated that they would make about $531 million in 2004 dollars during the next 50 years, about the same as the price with which the bidding is expected to open. A mid-range forecast of energy prices by a consultant for the Department of Public Service put the dams’ earnings at $788 million. The state, however, will continue to help the town of Rockingham’s efforts to buy the Bellows Falls dam. The state authority is expected to act as escrow agent, holding the $72 million that is to be paid to U.S. Gen. On the larger purchase, however, the state was reluctant to make bets based on energy price forecasting long into the future. This may have been due in part to some prior faulty forecasting done by the state on the economics of the 25-year contract it entered into in 1991 to buy power from Hydro-Quebec. In addition, as with many other states, Vermont overpaid on long-term contracts with small in-state power producers.