People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) Annual Meeting Dec. 2

PACE’s Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, 55 Bloomfield Rd., Hartford. The keynote address, “Renewables-Driven Community Micro-grids,” will be given by Craig Lewis, Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Clean Coalition. Music will be provided by State Troubadour Kate Callahan.

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) is an all-volunteer non-profit that has been educating the public and advocating for clean energy since 1973. PACE conducts annual tours of energy-efficient homes and electric vehicles, and urges participants to “try this at home!” PACE’s 100PercentCT Project is working with individual towns across the state to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. For more information, go online at www.pace-cleanenergy.org or contact PACE President Mark Scully at mwscully29@gmail.com.

Call to Action from PACE

This article was written before the Legislature voted on a budget that raided $90 million from clean energy funds. Call Gov. Malloy — 800-406-1527 — and demand he veto the budget. The large corporations and millionaires and billionaires of CT can pay more in taxes to make up the difference. Call your legislators and tell them raiding the money from the clean energy funds is unacceptable and demand they work to reinstate those funds so people can have increased access to non-polluting energy and energy assistance.

by Mark Scully, People’s Action for Clean Energy

You may have heard that the latest Connecticut budget includes highly damaging raids to three important clean energy funds. This budget would cut $27.5 million this fiscal year and next from the CT Green Bank, $50 million per year from the Energy Efficiency Fund, $10 million per year from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

These raids are tantamount to a tax on residents through their utility bills. These funds had been designated to support energy efficiency and clean energy. The CT Green Bank has become a national model for promoting investment in energy efficiency and clean energy. Robbing its balance sheet would be damaging not only to the environment but also to our economy.

These raids would be a major setback to energy efficiency and clean energy in Connecticut. Let’s make our voices heard!

PACE, PO Box 134, West Simsbury, CT 06092

Solarize New Haven

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

Solarize New Haven will have a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 7-9 p.m. at the Hall of Records, G2 Hearing Room, 200 Orange St. The press conference will be followed by an information session. People can have their questions answered about solar panels, installation and energy financing. This is a great opportunity for New Haven homeowners to explore the possibility of getting solar panels. There are many financing programs that make solar panels affordable. This solar installation is available also to multi-family homes, provided that one of the apartments is owner-occupied. RGS is the company that will be installing solar panels through Solarize New Haven.

On Sept. 5, the New Haven Alders passed a resolution to encourage the State of Connecticut to push forward on promoting shared solar. We hope that as clean energy advocates in other CT cities and towns have their boards of alders or town councils pass similar resolutions, Connecticut legislators will move ahead in allowing the development of many shared solar projects.

At the hearings last month about the draft 2017 Comprehensive Energy Strategy of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, many people spoke out about the shortcomings of the proposed energy policy and specified the need for expanded shared solar projects. The timing of the hearings and the New Haven resolution coincided well!

New Haven Resolution on Shared Solar to be Voted on Sept. 5

Paula Panzarella, New Haven Energy Task Force

The New Haven Energy Task Force and the New Haven Environmental Advisory Council have worked on a resolution to encourage the state politicians to push forward shared solar projects so that more people can benefit from lower electric rates and use renewable energy which is not polluting our atmosphere and will not accelerate climate change.

Below are excerpts of the resolution that will be presented to the Board of Alders (City Hall, 165 Church St., second fl.) on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. From 6-7 p.m. people who are interested can lobby their alders.

We are hoping that other cities and towns will enact similar resolutions so the State of CT will hear that throughout Connecticut the residents want the State to stop holding back the development of shared solar projects.

RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF ALDERS urging the CT General Assembly, Governor Malloy, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and the electric distribution companies to support “community shared solar” legislation.

Whereas: the City of New Haven understands the dangers of climate change, pollution and the need to reduce our carbon footprint; and…

Whereas: it is the policy of the State of Connecticut to, in part, “… develop and utilize alternative energy resources, such as solar and wind energy, to the maximum practical extent …” (Energy Policy Act, CGS 16a-35k); and

Whereas: Connecticut residents, and particularly residents of United Illuminating’s service territory, continue to pay some of the highest electricity rates on the continent; and…

Whereas: the development of “community shared solar” installations in New Haven will create well-paying jobs and enhance the city’s overall economic development efforts; and…

Whereas: The Connecticut General Assembly has to date only approved a small pilot program that has continuously been delayed, and has not authorized a full-scale state-wide shared solar program;…

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

The City of New Haven calls on its elected representatives in the Connecticut General Assembly, Governor Malloy, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, and the electric distribution companies to support comprehensive, long-term “community shared solar” legislation, and encourages its residents to become informed about the issue and communicate their views to their representatives.

PACE to Host House Tour and Electric Vehicle Show on Saturday, June 10

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will host a tour of a beautiful, award-winning, energy-efficient home in East Haddam, CT at noon and 2:30 p.m. on June 10. In addition, the tour will include an electric vehicle show featuring EVs from the New England Electric Automobile Association. The home, a winner of the 2015 Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge, is an example of how energy efficient homes can also be beautiful and comfortable to live in. It features a dramatic, open floor-plan, passive solar design, an extremely tight building envelope, close attention to air quality and state-of-the-art HVAC and solar technologies. Come experience this house in person.

For tickets, go online to www.pace-cleanenergy.org and click on EVENTS. For additional information, call (860) 217-3686.

Wells Fargo Middletown Shut Down for 2 Hours; Protesters Demand Divestment from Dakota Access Pipeline

Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

For nearly two hours on April 7, customers were unable to get into the local Wells Fargo branch. A police officer told people attempting to enter that they would not be able to do so. After all, 76-year-old climate protester Vic Lancia had locked himself to two trash bins, each filled with 500 pounds of concrete and rocks, blocking entrance to the front door. Around the corner, nine Wesleyan students linked arms in order to prevent cars from accessing the drive-thru. They chanted “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!”

Local residents, students and members of climate justice groups–about 45 people in total–protested outside Wells Fargo in opposition to the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The proposed $3.8 billion oil pipe-line would threaten the drinking water and land of the Stan-ding Rock Sioux and surrounding indigenous communities in so-called “North Dakota” and other states, posing dangers to the environment and to indigenous sovereignty. Wells Fargo has invested $120 million in the pipeline’s development.

Middletown residents and Wesleyan students have repeatedly protested at Wells Fargo over the past months, but this demonstration marked an escalation in local efforts, with people breaking the law in order to disrupt the bank’s activities.

“I will not stop letting my voice be heard as an indigenous woman. I stand here to protect water from being polluted,” said Katrina Harry, a Navajo woman who joined the demonstration.

“Settler colonialism is a structure that has displaced Native Americans from their land for hundreds of years, and the Dakota Access Pipeline is another violent colonial project endorsed by the United States government,” said Wesleyan student Angel Martin. “I am coming to show solidarity with the water protectors who resisted and are still resisting DAPL. I am coming because indigenous sovereignty matters and native lives matter.”

For the full report of the action and to see photos, please go to http://www.capitalismvsclimate.org/2017/04/wells-fargo-branch-shut-down-for-two-hours-protesters-demand-divestment-from-dakota-access-pipeline.

New Haven To UI: Not One More Dime | New Haven Independent

by Markeshia Ricks, Sep 13, 2016 ©2016 New Haven Independent

New Haveners concerned about a proposed rate increase said that they want United Illuminating to have the infrastructure to withstand superstorms, but that they’ve already paid for it.

The electric company is asking the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to grant a more than $100 million distribution rate increase over a three year period. The increase would generate $65.6 million next year, $27.1 million the following year and another $13.4 million in 2019. This would raise individual customer bills by an average of about $30 a month over that three-year period, according to the Office of Consumer Counsel.

The counsel’s office opposes the rate increase. It also came out for reducing by almost $10, to $7.63, a residential fixed charge that UI levies.

UI said it needs the increase to replace poles and wires and make other investments to avoid power outages during major storms.

More than 35 residents from New Haven and other parts of the state attended a PURA hearing Monday in the Hall of Records at 200 Orange St. to oppose the rate increase. They said some people already can’t afford their bills. And they argued that the rate increase de-incentivizes energy-efficiency efforts.
Several people also argued that UI is primarily seeking to line the pockets of its new parent company, Spain-based Iberdrola.

Frank Panzarella said that stats already showed during the last rate increase request that Connecticut residents are having trouble paying their bills. He asked what made UI think that customers can afford to pay more. [….]

For the complete article, visit: New Haven To UI: Not One More Dime | New Haven Independent.

Let’s Talk About Climate Change in October

by Chris Schweitzer, Director, NHLSCP

Climate change effects us all, so let’s talk about what it means, how we’re feeling about it and ways to respond. Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge (HCC) invites you to hold a discussion this October as a way to support a wider response to this new challenge. HCC has organized great resources for holding discussions.

There are many different ways that you can support climate discussions:

  • Organize a climate change talk at your organization or home.
  • Promote online discussions and blogs.
  • Watch and share videos (suggestions in our resource kit).
  • Print and hang up the posters (provided in our resource kit).
  • Create a series of Facebook posts related to climate change throughout October.
  • Get speakers from environmental organizations to come talk (HCC can suggest possible ones).
  • Participate in any of the HCC-sponsored climate change discussions this October (more details to follow).

Our resources include global warming videos, websites, articles, letters, visual tools, activity ideas, posters and graphics, so be sure to check them out! Let us know if you organize a discussion or have other ideas on how to engage people. We’re excited about this chance to get people talking…AND taking concrete steps to create a healthier future!

Contact Chris at nh@newhavenleon.org or (203) 562-1607.

New Haven/Leon Sister City Project works to promote social justice, education and sustainable development in Nicaragua and Connecticut. For more information see newhavenleon.orgwww.facebook.com/newhavenleon; email nh@newhavenleon.org; or call (203) 562-1607.

UI Planning Rate Increase of the Distribution Charge, Hearing in New Haven tonight! Sept. 12

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

UI is now owned by Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest utility companies, with over 31 million customers. This adds to the insult that Connecticut customers, already paying the highest rates for electricity in the continental United States, are faced with even higher bills if we don’t stop the proposed increase.

According to the press release from the Office of Consumer Counsel, “If UI’s rate phase-in plan were approved as proposed, a typical residential customer on standard service generation who is using 700kWh per month would see their total bill rise by approximately $9.34, from $162.46 to $171.80, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Monthly bills would also increase by approximately $9.50 per month on Jan. 1, 2018 and by an incremental $11.00 monthly on Jan. 1, 2019.”

Note this is only the distribution charge. Should there be an increase in the generation charge, transmission, basic service or any other charge on our UI bill, we’re looking at even more.
Again, we already have the highest rates in the continental United States!

How to fight this: we have to pack the public hearings in Bridgeport and New Haven.

  • Bridgeport hearing: Thursday, Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m., City Common Council Chambers, Bridgeport City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace.
  • New Haven hearing: Monday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m., Hearing Room G2, Kennedy Mitchell Hall of Records, 200 Orange St.

This proposal is identified as Docket No. 16-06-04. Please use this number when you write, e-mail or call PURA.

To mail your commentary, write to PURA,10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051. Send e-mail to dpuc.executivesecretary@po.state.ct.us.

Thank you!

For questions or more information, please call (203) 562-2798 or e-mail paulapanzarella@yahoo.com.

In the Sept. 9 New Haven Register there is an article about yet another increase they want to impose on us.

News to Get All Steamed Up About: UI Is Planning a Rate Increase of the Distribution Charge

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

UI is now owned by Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest utility companies, with over 31 million customers. This adds to the insult that Connecticut customers, already paying the highest rates for electricity in the continental United States, are faced with even higher bills if we don’t stop the proposed increase.
According to the press release from the Office of Consumer Counsel, “If UI’s rate phase-in plan were approved as proposed, a typical residential customer on standard service generation who is using 700kWh per month would see their total bill rise by approximately $9.34, from $162.46 to $171.80, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Monthly bills would also increase by approximately $9.50 per month on Jan. 1, 2018 and by an incremental $11.00 monthly on Jan. 1, 2019.”

Note this is only the distribution charge. Should there be an increase in the generation charge, transmission, basic service or any other charge on our UI bill, we’re looking at even more.
Again, we already have the highest rates in the continental United States!

How to fight this: we have to pack the public hearings in Bridgeport and New Haven.

  • Bridgeport hearing: Thursday, Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m., City Common Council Chambers, Bridgeport City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace.
  • New Haven hearing: Monday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m., Hearing Room G2, Kennedy Mitchell Hall of Records, 200 Orange St.

This proposal is identified as Docket No. 16-06-04. Please use this number when you write, e-mail or call PURA.

To mail your commentary, write to PURA,10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051. Send e-mail to dpuc.executivesecretary@po.state.ct.us.

Thank you!

For questions or more information, please call (203) 562-2798 or e-mail paulapanzarella@yahoo.com.

Time for CT to Have Shared Solar!

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

More than half the homes in Connecticut don’t meet the criteria for the installation of solar panels. Here are some of the reasons that solar panels are not appropriate: roofs are shaded by buildings or trees, roofs are not in good shape, roofs don’t have a south-facing side, homes are rented, neighbor-hood associations do not allow solar panels, etc. That is why large-scale community solar projects can have a real impact on the growth of solar power and the solar industry in Connecticut.

The hopes for full-scale shared solar projects throughout Connecticut have stalled for this year, but the legislature is moving towards establishing rules for limited pilot projects. If the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection hears from people throughout the state, the agency and our politicians will hopefully understand that people want community solar power to lessen the dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a cleaner environment.

The legislation is titled Public Act 15-113, An Act Establishing a Shared Clean Energy Facility Pilot Program. If you want to receive the draft proposal (RFP) for this, please con-tact Debra Morrell at (860) 827-2688 and/or via e-mail at DEEP.EnergyBureau@ct.gov for the document to be sent.

There will be a public hearing on the draft RFP Thursday, June 9, at 9 a.m. in Hearing Room 1 at DEEP’s New Britain Office at 10 Franklin Square. It is requested people RSVP to DEEP.EnergyBureau@ct.gov by Tuesday, June 7, if planning to attend and/or present oral comment at the meeting.

DEEP will accept written or e-mailed public comments until 5 p.m. on Monday, June 20. Written comments may be filed electronically on DEEP’s website or submitted by email. Send comments by mail to DEEP, 10 Franklin Sqare, New Britain, CT 06051.

News from CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

by John Humphries, Organizer, CT Roundtable

We had a successful first round of Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) stakeholder events and we are now preparing for our spring Roundtable gathering.

GC3 Stakeholder Events – Round 1

On May 5, more than 175 people participated in simultaneous stakeholder events organized by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change at seven locations across the state. You can access the handouts, presentation slides, a video of the event, and some great photos on our website, http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

The second round will happen in late July and will provide an opportunity to evaluate some preliminary scenarios for achieving the state’s climate goals.  More details coming soon!

June 7 – Roundtable Gathering

Join us for our statewide gathering on June 7 when we will explore the intersection between the GC3 climate action planning and the state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy  (being updated this year). We seek to develop points of agreement and shared strategies for influencing these two state processes to ensure an aggressive approach to climate protection that creates local jobs and addresses the needs for climate justice.

A Just Climate Strategy for CT: Creating Jobs and Increasing Equity – Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m.
North Haven Congregational Church, 28 Church St., North Haven. (food available at 6:30 p.m.) Information: http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

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