utilities

Power Marketplace
9:08 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Big Electric Rate Hikes on the Way for Winter in Connecticut

Your meter may not be spinning any faster, but you'll pay more.
Sarah Simpson Creative Commons

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

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Electricity Market
3:15 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Connecticut Protests Power Auction That Will Drive Up Future Rates

Credit Невідомий (Wikimedia 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. 

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Parakeets
3:04 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

An Unusual, Non-Lethal Idea to Deal With Connecticut's Pesky Monk Parakeets

Monk Parakeets get their name from the distinctive cowl over their heads. They're also known as "Quaker Parrots."
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."

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Keeping the Lights On
2:16 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Church Leaders, Community Activists Oppose Utility Rate Request

Credit 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. 

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Trees, Please
1:36 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Think Cutting Back Forests for Power Lines in Connecticut Is Always Bad? Think Again.

Ken Metzler, left, with David Wagner at a power line corridor in South Windsor. The pair co-authored a paper on how power lines impact plant and animal life.
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.

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Campaign Finance
10:07 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Northeast Utilities CEO's Campaign Plea Judged "Offensive and Disturbing"

Northeast Utilities CEO Thomas May

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.

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Energy Grid
3:21 am
Wed September 10, 2014

New York Says It's Time To Flip The Switch On Its Power Grid

A worker repairs electrical lines in Plainview, N.Y., after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. A proposed plan to overhaul the state's power grid could help the system better withstand severe weather and enable energy to be stored and managed more efficiently.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 11:18 am

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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Utilities
2:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Connecticut Utility Rate Increases Discussed at Hearing

Kenneth Bowes of Connecticut Light and Power during the PURA hearing.
Credit CT-N

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.

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Trees, Please
9:05 am
Thu June 26, 2014

PURA Issues Final Decision on Tree Trimming

A resident holds up a "Trees Please" sign during a public hearing on "enhanced tree-trimming" in March.
Credit 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.

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Connecticut First
5:10 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Metro North Says Most 100 Day Action Steps Completed; Senate Approves Funding for West Haven VA Cent

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.

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Connecticut First
5:25 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

PURA Public Hearing Held; Navy Sub Returns After Secret Deployment

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

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Connecticut First
5:31 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Lawmakers Avert Legal Aid Cuts; Q-Poll Shows Gubernatorial Race Deadlocked

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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Utilities
8:43 am
Thu May 1, 2014

State Senate Measure Could Change the Face of Electric Bills

Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary Thinkstock

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

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Deregulated Electricity Market
4:51 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Regulators Say Electric Suppliers Must Improve Disclosure

Credit 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.

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Cybersecurity
4:36 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Connecticut and Utilities Prepare Defenses Against Cyberattacks

Credit 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.

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Connecticut First
5:55 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Malloy Commemorates Gun Control Law Anniversary; Reduced Penalties for Drug Sales Near Schools

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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Legislative Session
2:33 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

New Limits Proposed for Connecticut's Independent Electric Suppliers

Credit Sarah Simpson / Creative Commons

Proposed new legislation would set new limits on Connecticut's independent electric suppliers, curbing what state officials are calling deceptive practices. The bill was introduced by Governor Dannel Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen, and Consumer Counsel Elin Katz. 

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Gone Solar
11:59 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Bridgeport Town Council Gives OK to Solar Project

After the solar project works its way through PURA, construction should begin. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch estimates the project will bring about $7 million to the city over the next 20 years.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons

With a 15-5 vote, Bridgeport's City Council approved a massive solar energy project this week that could bring thousands of solar panels to a former city landfill. Since dumps are no longer allowed in Connecticut, that's left a lot of city leaders wondering what to do with that old space. 

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Connecticut First
5:57 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Jepsen Closes CL & P Investigation; Malloy Discusses Storm Damage Funding

Attorney General George Jepsen and Connecticut Light & Power have reached a $2.5 million settlement over claims that the power company "impaired and impeded" regulators during an investigation into its response to a major snowstorm in 2011 .The utility has agreed to donate the funds to Operation Fuel—which is a Connecticut energy assistance nonprofit group.

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Tree Trimming
2:10 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Despite PURA Request, Utilities Want to Keep Trimming

A resident holds up a "Trees Please" sign during a public hearing on "enhanced tree-trimming" earlier this month.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Last week, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority called for a "voluntary suspension" of so-called "enhanced tree-trimming" around the state. United Illuminating and CL&P quickly filed formal responses and -- surprise -- they both want to keep trimming.

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Deregulated Power
4:32 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

State Authorities Besieged With Complaints About Power Suppliers

Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary / Thinkstock

If you buy power from an independent supplier, rather than the state's two regulated utilities, the Connecticut Light and Power Company and United Illuminating, you could be paying a lot more for your power, rather than saving money.

Putting that extra cost together means a lot of money -- $13.7 million for customers in one month if they had chosen to use a supplier instead.

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Tree Trimming
4:30 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

For Tree-Trimming Opponents, a Victory, at Least for Now

A well-loved tree in Hamden, Conn.
Credit Contributed Photo

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is calling for a suspension of "enhanced tree trimming" around the state. It's a decision following months of public outcry.

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Deregulated Power
1:49 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Independent Electric Suppliers Hit Back at Critics

Credit Sarah Simpson / Creative Commons

Connecticut's independent electric suppliers have come in for some stiff criticism this winter, after it was revealed that some were charging customers astronomical rates for power. But the suppliers themselves claim there's another side to the story.

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Tree Science
11:42 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Can Science Develop Stronger Trees in Connecticut?

Scientists at UConn are researching how to build more wind-resistant trees in the roadside forests near power lines. It's part of a quest to stave off large-scale power outages in the wake of storms.
Chion Wolf / WNPR

As United Illuminating continues revisions on its ambitious tree-cutting plan, a group of scientists at UConn is studying why trees fail, and how they can be made stronger.

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Utilities
6:01 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Officials Delay Decision On Fate of UI's Ambitious Tree-Cutting Plan

A downed power line following an ice storm in 2011.
Chion Wolf / WNPR

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, PURA will now delay their decision on United Illuminating's ambitious tree-cutting plan past Wednesday, January 29, due to a public hearing request from UI to discuss "technical issues."

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Energy
12:12 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Regulators Hear Call for Simpler Gas Rates

Credit James Riden / Creative Commons

Connecticut's gas utilities are asking regulators to lower the amount they'd have to charge businesses that sign up for new gas service. The request comes as regulators debate the final shape of the state's new comprehensive energy plan.

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Pull The Plug
3:11 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Drill Simulates Crippling Blow to Power Grid

Connecticut Light and Power will participate in a two-day drill simulating attacks on the power grid. The exercise is being staged by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and will include hundreds of utilities from across North America.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, angeloangelo

As concerns over the security of America's electrical infrastructure continue to grow, Connecticut Light & Power and the United Illuminating Company said they will both take part in a multi-national security exercise this week. The drill will be run by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (also known as NERC) and will include Homeland Security, FBI officials, and hundreds of utilities. 

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Outsourced
3:25 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Northeast Utilities Will Outsource 200 IT Jobs

Credit Devcore / Wikimedia Commons

Northeast Utilities has revealed its plans to outsource 200 information technology jobs to Indian firms. The news comes after weeks of pressure on the company. Northeast Utilities employees had heard rumors that some jobs might be outsourced as the giant company reorganizes in the wake of its merger with Massachusetts-based NStar.

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Energy
10:35 am
Fri September 27, 2013

State Legislators Respond to Rumors of Outsourcing at Northeast Utilities

Credit Guido Gerding / Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers are turning up heat on Northeast Utilities over rumors the utility giant will outsource its information technology functions. The legislators say the company isn't playing straight with them. For several weeks, gossip has been circulating about the intentions of Northeast Utilities with regard to its IT department.

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