Update of Lawsuit about State Seizure of Energy Efficiency Funds; Millstone Tries to Pose Nuclear Energy as ‘Renewable’

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

This year, a large portion of the efficiency and clean energy funds that we pay through our electric bills was appropriated by the legislature to go into the state’s General Fund. $87.5 million was taken in 2018, and $77.5 million is scheduled to be transferred in 2019.

Many organizations, including Fight the Hike and CT Fund for the Environment (CFE), were involved in a lawsuit against the state to have the money returned. U.S District Judge Janet Hall recently filed her decision against us. The following excerpts are from CFE’s announcement on this:

  • Unfortunately, the judge just ruled that the state’s sweep of ratepayer funds did not break contracts between ratepayers and their electric companies because nobody promised ratepayers that their dollars would not be transferred to the General Fund for unrelated purposes.
  • Silly us for trusting what it says on our energy bill.
  • Now, these funds are just another hidden tax, and you’ll still breathe dirty air.
  • The loss of the lawsuit proves how difficult it is to stop lawmakers from stealing and spending millions of dollars earmarked for specific purposes on anything they want unless there are clear requirements in the law.
  • We won’t forget what happened after the raid. The legislature’s sweep of these funds destroyed more than 3,000 jobs in Connecticut, clean energy businesses have closed their doors, and energy efficiency projects across the state have been canceled.

There are plans to appeal this decision. We must let our legislators know we disagree with Judge Hall’s ruling, and demand that all the efficiency and clean energy funds be restored.

Regarding Millstone: If it weren’t tragic, it would be laughable that anyone could consider nuclear power a clean, renewable source of electricity. This is a deadly mistake. Just the excavation of uranium is enough to render it a filthy, polluting source of energy, let alone its risk of exposing millions of people to radiation.

  • A tentative ruling by state utility regulators may boost efforts by the owner of the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant to have the electricity it produces considered in ‘zero carbon’ auction that the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection conducts to procure power.
  • Commissioners with Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority ruled that the Waterford-based power plant “is at risk of retirement.” Dominion Energy, the Virginia-based company that owns Millstone, has claimed for several years that economic conditions in the nation’s energy markets are making it difficult for the utility to keep operating the plant if it not be allowed to compete for lucrative long-term contracts that are awarded to the winners of the zero-carbon auction.
  • Joel Gordes, a West Hartford-based energy industry consultant, said PURA’s commissioners erred in their draft ruling.
  • “To treat nuclear power as if it were a renewable resource is completely inappropriate,” Gordes said. “Real renewable resources don’t produce a deadly byproduct that has to be guarded for an eternity.”

(excerpts from the on-line New Haven Register of Nov. 17, 2018, “Connecticut Utility Regulators Say Millstone Nuclear Power Plant ‘At Risk’ of Closing” by Luther Turmelle)

Tell DEEP and PURA that we will not stand for Dominion trying to redefine “clean, renewable resources.” Contact: Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, (860) 827-1553, (800) 382-4586, pura.information@ct.gov. Katie Dykes, Chair of PURA, (860) 827-2805, katie.dykes@ct.gov.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, (860) 424-3000, deep.webmaster@ct.gov. Rob Klee, Commissioner of DEEP, (860) 424-3571, robert.klee@ct.gov.

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.

Shocking Electric News from Fight the Hike

Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

On Monday, Nov. 17, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approved excessive rate hikes for UI and CL&P customers who are on the standard offer. The generation rate increase was requested eleven days prior to PURA’s approval and did not require public testimony. It is estimated the average UI customer with the standard offer will have an increase of $35 a month starting January 1, 2015.

CL&P customers who have the standard offer will, on average, have an increase of $18 a month.
This is blatantly disregarding and disrespecting the residents and businesses of Connecticut by foisting such huge increases without any warning. Can you imagine if it were known that the companies wanted this raise prior to the election? Electricity and energy rates would have been a major issue in the debates, forcing candidates to take positions and discuss ways to nullify or at least forestall these increases.

We urge people to contact PURA and CT Attorney General George Jepsen and let them know your thoughts about this.

  • PURA: phone: (860) 827-1553 and toll free (800) 382-4586, fax: (860) 827-2822 e-mail: pura.information@ct.gov Ten Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051
  • CT Attorney General George Jepsen phone: (860) 808-5318 fax: (860) 808-5387 e-mail: attorney.general@ct.gov 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106

People might also want to contact their state senators and representatives. Shouldn’t we have legislation to prevent such an increase going into effect without a public hearing?

In other news, the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs met on Nov. 17 in East Hartford for a discussion concerning CL&P’s proposed 60% increase in the monthly fixed charge for residential delivery of electricity. PURA is scheduled to issue its draft decision on this raise Dec. 1. A petition is being circulated via the internet at http://bit.ly/RTstatement11-14. To get more information about CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, please contact John Humphries, (860)216-7972, john.humphries1664@gmail.com.