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Vt power merger critics push for House debate

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- This could be the climactic week in an effort by some Vermont lawmakers to get the Legislature to intervene in the proposed merger of Vermont's two largest electric utilities.

The House may be asked to debate a measure that would have the Legislature direct the Public Service Board on how $21 million is repaid to customers of Central Vermont Public Service Corp.

Green Mountain Power, whose parent company Gaz Metro is acquiring CVPS, has proposed putting $21 million into weatherization and energy efficiency, and then billing ratepayers to recoup that investment.

Legislative critics say the money should be repaid in checks or deductions in monthly bills, and that it should come from shareholders, not future ratepayer bills.

Other lawmakers say they don't want to interfere with the board.