Constriction of natural gas and the retirement of nuclear power plants in the region mean that New England must rely more on oil and coal, exposing consumers to higher energy prices, observers say. The loss of more than 3,300 megawatts of generating capacity from the region's energy mix over the next 3½ years "is a serious problem, and it's growing in terms of severity," said Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England. Patrick Woodcock, director of the Maine Governor's Energy Office, cites how the impending closure of Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant made the region's energy crisis more severe.

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