utilities

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Large portions of Washington, D.C., were hit by power outages Tuesday, momentarily plunging the White House and other buildings into darkness.

The Pepco utility company says the culprit was a transmission line in southern Maryland that caused "a dip in voltage" shortly before 1 p.m. ET. The power company says there was never a loss of permanent supply of electricity, but the situation caused some customers to move to their backup systems, which is what caused the dip in voltage.

Thomas Hopkins / Creative Commons

A bill that would cap charges for electric services paid by residential customers is moving through the Connecticut General Assembly.

The legislature's Energy and Technology Committee on Tuesday approved a bill capping the monthly, fixed charge at $10. The bill now awaits further action in the Senate.

Politicians and consumer groups voiced concerns about a recent state decision to increase the fix charges imposed by Eversource Energy from $16 to $19.50. Eversource originally requested a $25.50 charge, saying the revenue is needed to cover the utility's expenses.

Kate Ter Haar / Creative Commons

Customers of Connecticut Light and Power, Yankee Gas, and other Northeast Utility brands are getting used to a new name as of Monday. All of NU’s subsidiaries are now Eversource Energy. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Emails and calls are some of the ways Connecticut Light and Power has begun reaching out to its customers ahead of the expected massive snowstorm, mindful of criticism over lengthy outages during past storms. 

ISO-New England

New England's electricity grid operator said natural gas pipeline bottlenecks and retirement of aging power plants could put pressure on the price of energy.

Guido Gerding / Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2011, a few things changed for PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Its staff was cut, and it developed a closer relationship with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Some of PURA's budget and its hiring authority shifted over to DEEP, and the move changed the way the board does its main job: reviewing the performance of power companies.

CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy has sharply rebuked his own utility regulators in a dispute over how the agency should be governed.

The commissioners of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority, headed by chairman Arthur House, wrote to Malloy at the end of last month expressing deep dissatisfaction with the decision four years ago to bring PURA under the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling for a federal review of electric rate hikes by CL&P and other providers nationwide. 

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Legislators and lobbyists are calling for the state's largest electric utility to lower its fixed residential charge with a new proposal that would set Connecticut Light and Power's fixed rate at $10.00 a month.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Consumers who are scrambling to lower their electric rates in the new year are being urged to exercise caution. Looming rate increases from Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating have many considering signing up for an alternative supplier for the first time. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Attorney General George Jepsen has welcomed the cut that regulators look likely to make to Connecticut Light and Power’s requested rate hike, but he said they should go further. 

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State regulators, in a draft ruling, have reduced the permanent rate increase proposed by Connecticut Light and Power, slashing the number from $221 million to about $130 million. It’s big news in the ongoing controversy over the energy company’s plan to increase electric rates.

Невідомий / Creative Commons

Connecticut regulators say that a power utility's request to raise consumer costs by more than $230 million should be cut nearly in half. 

Sarah Simpson / Creative Commons

Both of Connecticut’s electric utility companies want to raise rates sharply in January. 

Невідомий / Creative Commons

Connecticut officials are once again demanding an investigation of an electricity auction earlier this year which they claim artificially drove up prices for the entire region. 

Kevin Burgio

Kevin Burgio remembered the first time he saw monk parakeets. He was out bird watching "and I ran across this puddle that had like five or six monk parakeets drinking from it," he said. "I'm like, what the hell is that? Did someone lose, like, five parrots? I didn't know there were parrots here."

Jeff Kubina/flickr creative commons

Church and community leaders have added their voices to the calls for Connecticut Light and Power to withdraw its latest rate request. CL&P has caused uproar by proposing to increase the fixed fees that it charges customers to raise an additional $221 million. 

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

When you think of environmentally beneficial landscapes, the land beneath power lines might not be at the top of your list, but new research is highlighting this habitat's importance in conserving a wide array of plant and insect life.

The Chairman and CEO of Northeast Utilities didn’t violate campaign finance laws when he urged his employees to give money to help re-elect Governor Dannel Malloy. That was the judgment this week of the State Election Enforcement Commission.

But the Commission did have strong opinions about Thomas May’s actions. “The content of the solicitation by Mr May is both offensive and disturbing, and violates the spirit and the intent of the Connecticut state contractor ban,” said the judgment.

In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.

During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.

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A fight is brewing over a request by Connecticut's largest utility to raise rates by $232 million to upgrade equipment following destructive storms. The first of three related public hearings took place on Wednesday.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Connecticut has a lot of trees. Our state leads the nation on this piece of technical jargon from the state forester, "woodland urban interface tree density." That means two things -- one: Connecticut has a lot of old, towering, trees -- and two, when major storms, like the ones in 2011 and 2012, hit those trees can be really vulnerable.

Metro-North Railroad has released a final report on what it has done to improve safety following a series of accidents last year. The rail line says it has completed most of its priorities. In a 100-day action plan, Metro-North said it has established an investigation unit to look into the root causes of accidents, overhauled a system safety plan, reviewed and improved employee training programs and made other changes.

State regulators are giving the public one last chance to weigh in on rules governing utilities’ tree-trimming practices before issuing a final decision in the case. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority held a hearing today. A final decision by PURA is expected tomorrow.

Navy Submarine Returns From European Deployment

Connecticut lawmakers averted a $4.5 million cut to legal aid for the poor that was expected to reduce services for the state’s neediest residents. The legislature approved a plan to continue using increased court filing fees to fund legal aid. It was part of a massive budget bill adopted just before the legislative session ended on Wednesday.

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The state senate has unanimously passed a bill to address many complaints against independent electricity suppliers.

Sarah Simpson / Creative Commons

Utility regulators say independent electric suppliers in the state should be required to give consumers a clear disclosure about how much they're paying for power.

Flickr user Chris Hunkeler/ Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has released a plan to protect Connecticut's utilities against cyber attacks. Connecticut's electric, natural gas, major water companies and the regional distribution systems have already been penetrated in the past.

When asked just how many cyber attacks have happened, Arthur House, chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, said he can't go into much detail.

Governor Dannel Malloy and lawmakers, along with gun violence prevention groups gathered in Hartford today to commemorate the one year anniversary of the post-Newtown gun control, school safety and mental health law.

Committee Approves Reduced Penalty Bill

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