Public Service of New Hampshire

As the largest energy provider in the state, Public Service of New Hampshire provides power to almost half a million households. PSNH was founded in 1966. The company has three locations but is headquartered in the old Manchester Steam Plant that sits on the Merrimack River. Although the plant has been renovated, it is likely that an old enemy is encased in the shiny resin that now covers the pipes at Public Service of New Hampshire.

Like many other utility companies that were formed in its time, the Public Service of New Hampshire likely used asbestos to insulate pipes and fireproof boilers in its plants. Although the material was once considered safe and became a common component in building materials such as flooring and ceiling tiles, asbestos was eventually labeled hazardous after many people developed fatal diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Because the symptoms of these conditions take decades to develop, many former power plant workers are only now realizing that they have been affected.

In the industrial world, shipyards and power plants led the list of offenders due to the large operations and extensive use of metal pipe. Victims included not only the workers at these plants and shipyards, but the family members of the workers as well. Asbestos is capable of clinging to clothing, skin and hair; therefore, workers often unknowingly brought asbestos fibers home. Asbestos fibers become a problem when they’re inhaled. The fibers can attach themselves to the lungs and make breathing difficult after many years after exposure.

The Public Service of New Hampshire also built Seabrook Station, a nuclear power plant that brought much controversy. The company even filed for bankruptcy in the 1980s.  In an effort to reclaim its good name, Public Service of New Hampshire partnered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Game Department for a series of environment-friendly projects. In 1989, the group constructed the first man-made fish ladder at a hydro station.