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Mini E concept | LA
Soon, Mini’s Electric Kool Aid Test
By JERRY GARRETT
November 20, 2008
Introduced on Wednesday: Mini E concept.
Is it real? Is Mini, the iconic
minicar maker, ready to take the plunge into electric vehicles? Only
time, and 500 models set to be released for long-term test drives, will
What they said: “The know-how gained
from this project will help us perfect the Mini E’s innovative drive
system and speed production of a mega city car,” said Natalie Bauters,
a Mini spokeswoman.
What they didn’t say: While General
Motors has been plodding along and burning through the dollars
developing its Chevrolet Volt “extended-range” electric vehicle (now
due in late 2010), Mini, with help from its parent, BMW, took a mere 10
months to develop the Mini E.
What makes it tick? A 150-kilowatt
electric motor that produces 204 horsepower, a high-performance
lithium-ion battery pack (good for 150 miles on a full charge) and a
single-stage helical gearbox that sends the power out to the front
wheels. From a standing start, it will hit 60 m.p.h. in about 8.5
seconds; maximum speed is limited to 95 m.p.h. Unfortunately, the
battery pack’s size wipes out the two rear seats, making the Mini E a
somewhat impractical two-seater.
How much, how soon? Not available in
any store. But the Mini E will start appearing on a street near you (if
you live in the Los Angeles or New York City metro areas) early next
year. You can sign up on a special Web site (http://www.minispace.com/en_us/projects/electric-mini-e/)
for a place in line, to be considered to lease one of the 500 test
vehicles for a year. Warning: some 9,500 people have already signed up,
the company says. But don’t despair, the field could be winnowed down
considerably by the monthly lease fee of $850.
How’s it look? Like good green fun,
in a convenient to-go size container.
Prius: It’s Not Just a Car, It’s an
By Kate Galbraith
December 23, 2008, 9:58 am
The Prius has a new use, and it does
not involve driving. The Harvard Press — which serves the Massachusetts
town of Harvard as opposed to the university — reported that the car’s
battery helped keep the lights on for some locals during the recent ice
The newspaper reports that John Sweeney, a resident who lost power,
“ran his refrigerator, freezer, TV, woodstove fan, and several lights
through his Prius, for three days, on roughly five gallons of gas.”
Said Mr. Sweeney, in an e-mail message to The Press: “When it looked
like we were going to be without power for awhile, I dug out an
inverter (which takes 12v DC and creates 120v AC from it) and wired it
into our Prius.”
According to the newspaper, “the device allowed the engine to run every
half hour, automatically charging the car battery and indirectly
supplying the required power.”
In fact, this development, which comes at a tough time for Toyota,
which makes the Prius, may not be not as strange as it sounds. Mr.
Sweeney’s tinkering is along the lines of the “smart grid” technology
that many utility executives and other experts say lies in our future.
The idea is that the battery of an electric car — a plug-in, in most
smart-grid scenarios — can feed power to the electricity grid when the
grid needs it.
Even President-elect Barack Obama has endorsed this idea, as seen
toward the end of this YouTube clip in which he said: “We’re going to
have to have a smart grid if we want to use plug-in hybrids — then we
want to be able to have ordinary consumers sell back the electricity
Mr. Sweeney, out of necessity, got there first.
car can work if you are able to recharge the batteries.
Renault to Develop Electric Cars For Israel
Published: January 21, 2008
Filed at 1:00 p.m. ET
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The
Renault-Nissan <RENA.PA> <7201.T> alliance on Monday signed
a deal to begin mass producing electric cars as part of an Israeli-led
project to develop alternative energy sources and slash oil dependency.
Renault-Nissan Chief Executive
Carlos Ghosn said the cars, with a range of about 100 km in city
driving and up to 160 km on the highway, will accelerate from zero to
100 kph in 13 seconds and have a top speed of 110 kph -- similar to
many gasoline-powered cars.
Ghosn said a key reason why the
company chose Israel to launch the project is because 90 percent of
Israelis drive less than 70 km a day and all major urban centers are
within 150 km of each other. For Israel the cars would mean less
dependency on oil imports, mostly coming from Russia.
The cars, to be made in Europe, will
run on a battery developed by Nissan and Japan's NEC <6701.T> and
will be available in 2011. A prototype is already on the road in Israel
and various models will be sold by Renault and Nissan.
"It will be the most environmentally
friendly mass-produced car on the market," Ghosn said at a Fuel Free
Transportation ceremony at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert, adding the main appeal of the cars is that they were as "normal
as possible" while operating quietly.
He said the car would cost the same
or less than comparable gasoline engine autos and would have a lifetime
Ghosn said Renault-Nissan will also
market the cars in yet to be determined European countries and Asia and
later to the United States.
"We expect this car to be
successful," Ghosn told reporters. "We want to make sure we mass market
10,000 to 20,000 cars a year in Israel ... We are determined to make it
Israel's government will offer tax
incentives on the cars and Project Better Place, a venture-backed
company, will set up a recharging grid using electricity from renewable
"The state of Israel has set itself
the goal of making our lives here better and cleaner, with less
dependence on gasoline and petroleum," Olmert said. "By the end of the
next decade, we will be completely free of petroleum and its
by-products as the fuel which powers transportation in Israel."
Project Better Place is headed by
former SAP <SAPG.DE> executive Shai Agassi, who said Israel's
grid would be powered by 200 megawatts generated by wind and solar
"For the first time in history, all
the conditions necessary for electric vehicles to be successfully
mass-marketed will be brought together in a partnership between the
Renault-Nissan Alliance and Project Better Place in Israel," the two
sides said in a statement.
Consumers will buy their car and
subscribe to an energy supply, including the use of the battery, on the
basis of kilometers driven, similar to the way mobile phones are sold.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said
he wanted Israel to push forward with the electric car plan because oil
has become the "greatest polluter of our age and the greatest financier
California-based Project Better
Place said it will set up a network of 500,000 charging points in
Israel. The car's computer will indicate when recharging is needed and
the nearest charging point.
The initial $200 million investment
in Project Better Place is led by holding company Israel Corp
<ILCO.TA> and includes investment bank Morgan Stanley
<MS.N>, venture capital firm Vantage Point and a group of private
Israel Corp, which will invest $100
million, said it had signed agreements with the other investors. The
Ofer family, which controls Israel Corp, will invest $30 million
through a private firm while the other investors will put in $70
IN A DECADE, HOW FAR HAVE WE GOTTEN?
Lawsuit over electric bill fee could challenge state budget
By SUSAN HAIGH Associated Press
Article published Mar 28, 2011
Hartford - A state senator's legal
challenge of a little-known fee on many Connecticut electric bills
could create yet another massive hole in the state's already
deficit-plagued budget, should the tea party-backed lawmaker win in
Sen. Joe Markley, a Republican from
Southington, said he believes the General Assembly and former Gov. M.
Jodi Rell deceived taxpayers when they decided to borrow up to $1.3
billion last year to help balance the budget. To pay off the bonds,
officials extended a fee that customers of Connecticut Light &
Power and United Illuminating have been paying to reimburse the
utilities for their expenses following electric deregulation in 1998.
Once those expenses are paid off,
the fee would remain on customers' bills but the money would go to the
"This thing was hastily done and was
an attempt to do it kind of in a way that nobody would notice it," said
He estimates the fee amounts to
about $100 a year for the average family, but it's in the thousands of
dollars for businesses and municipalities.
His case has reached the state
Supreme Court, which is expected to decide if it can move forward. The
state, meanwhile, has sought an expedited ruling because State
Treasurer Denise Nappier has yet to issue the bonds to cover the
deficit in the current fiscal year, waiting for Markley's lawsuit to be
decided. Such pending litigation would have to be disclosed in an
official statement, a snapshot of Connecticut's financial health, to
The treasurer needs to market and
close on the bonds before June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he
realizes that if Markley wins, or if the case is sent to state superior
court for a potentially lengthy review and appeals, it adds to the
fiscal problems he's been elected to fix. It's estimated to create a
$647 million hole - possibly less - in this year's $19.2 billion
budget, given the cost-savings efforts and improved revenue collections.
"For a guy who has got a $3.3
billion (deficit) in next year's (budget), $647 (million) in this
year's would be a concern, I can assure you," Malloy said Friday. "I am
well aware of it."
Malloy said he has not been
personally involved in coming up with a contingency plan for covering
the $647 million. However, he said if the courts rule in Markley's
favor, determining the fee is illegal, Malloy said his administration
would have to go to the General Assembly and ask lawmakers to
"repackage that approach." He did not provide further details, but
acknowledged it would likely involve some other form of borrowing.
Malloy has been a vocal opponent of
borrowing money to cover operating expenses.
"I think the fee was fair. I think
it was misguided. It's not a public policy I would have otherwise
promoted or supported," he said. "If you're asking do I believe it to
be legal? The answer is yes."
In a court document, Sarah Sanders,
the assistant treasurer for the debt management division, said if the
financing is not completed and the legislature does not take any action
to cover the deficit, the state might have to use economic recovery
notes to make up the shortfall. ERNs are repaid from the state's
general fund and "would create additional credit and budgetary issues
and may result in higher financing costs due to the lower credit rating
on these types of notes."
Markley said he isn't bothered by
the possibility he could be making the state's current budget
challenges more difficult. In the long run, he argues, his actions will
"I feel about it like I would
watching a friend, who had been drinking all evening, go back to the
ATM one more time to take more money out of the bank," he said. "Yes,
you might think this is a good idea right now, but when you wake up in
the morning, you're going to wish you hadn't taken out any more money."
Electricity Rates May Rise 12 Percent
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 5, 2010 Filed at 11:41 a.m. ET
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- A
state-funded research group is predicting that Indiana's electricity
rates could rise 12 percent over the next four years.
The Purdue University-based State
Utility Forecasting Group released a report last week that looked at
the state's energy needs between now and 2027.
Its findings include the prediction
that Indiana's overall electricity rates could rise 12 percent by 2013
due to more stringent environmental guidelines.
However, the report does not take
into account the impact of federal controls on carbon dioxide emissions
that Congress is considering.
Such controls could drive
electricity rates even higher in Indiana because the state gets about
95 percent of its power from coal-fired power plants that release large
amounts of carbon dioxide.
Fairfield County Seeks Resilience
By Gary Jeanfaivre
Article Launched: 09/14/2007 10:17:56 AM EDT
STAMFORD -- Traffic poses a problem to Fairfield County, both for the
economy and general quality of life issues including the environment
and personal time spent with family or otherwise. The ill effects can
throw a whole day off.
As an example, The Fairfield County Economic Conference, held last
Friday at the University of Connecticut's Stamford campus, was forced
to start nearly a half-hour late because a number of people were stuck
in traffic on the infamous stretch of Interstate 95.
Traffic has become so bad that, along with a reputation for beautiful
coastal communities and pristine wooded areas divided by stonewalls and
rivers, as well as a bubbly melting pot of social and cultural
offerings, Fairfield County is equally known as traffic alley.
"Congestion adds to the cost of doing business," said Joan McDonald,
commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community
Development (DECD). "It's something we have to grapple with."
Yet traffic is only one of many challenges facing the county, and in
turn, the state economy.
According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association's Blum
Shapiro survey, released a day before the conference, Connecticut's
companies see the overall cost of conducting business in the state as
the greatest challenge before them. And for the fourth straight year,
the rising cost of healthcare benefits was ranked the top cost concern
among respondents to the survey.
Other significant cost concerns include payroll (26 percent), energy
(11 percent) and workers' compensation (9 percent).
It is no surprise, too, seeing as Connecticut is among the most taxed
states in the nation, that taxes are also a major concern for
businesses, with executives surveyed stating that they don't see enough
value in the money paid to the government.
The cover illustration of the Fall 2007 issue of The Connecticut
Economy, a University of Connecticut quarterly review, features a stack
of three hardback books floating on an all-white background with
bindings reading: Housing, Traffic, Immigration. Stated below the
books: "Hot Titles for Fall: Traffic Nightmares, Housing Pangs,
National and international impacts -- from the U.S. Labor Department's
report of a loss of 4,000 jobs in the month of August to an all-time
high number of foreclosures, on to unrest in countries controlling key
markets and massive toy and food recalls -- are also felt in the county.
Delos R. Smith, a principal of Delos Smith & Associates, focused on
foreclosures and oil prices during his remarks, drawing laughter from
the 75 to 100 business people in attendance when he said the only
qualification mortgage lenders had when approving home loans was "their
ability to breathe."
Of particular importance, the panel of economists said, is that there
is still a massive amount of unannounced debt, accumulated by hedge
funds and other financial market risk-takers that bought the bundled
debt of foreclosures from mortgage companies as an investment. The
losses are likely to be felt in the county.
"We can have issues here even if the nation doesn't," said Rae Rosen,
senior economist and assistant vice president of the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York.
While there may be no shortage of challenges ahead, spirits are still
high and state and county businesses are poised for future
prosperity. Most Connecticut companies were profitable in 2006
and are optimistic about their prospects for 2007, the Blum Shapiro
Aerospace, chemical and metal manufacturing sectors are "bright spots"
in the state and county economies, experts said, citing the importance
of fostering entrepreneurship to supply two of the state's key
companies, Pfizer and Sikorsky.
Companies are also reinvesting profits, hiring new employees and
actively seeking savings, with 75 percent of respondents to the Blum
Shapiro survey undertaking steps to reduce energy use -- through the
replacement of older light bulbs and HVAC systems with new,
energy-efficient ones -- up from 50 percent two years ago.
"It's possible to be pro-environment and pro-business," McDonald said.
On hand to discuss the critical role that energy plays in today's high
tech world was Raymond P. Necci, president and chief operating officer
of Connecticut Light & Power Co.
"Electricity powers this state's economy," Necci said. "Unreliable is
And so the utility giant is investing heavily in upgrading the
distribution system in the county, funded in large part by rate
increases to customers, who can expect an additional $5 to $7 tacked on
to monthly bills. Necci cited the power upgrade from Bethel to Norwalk
as one example of a critical improvement.
And he said that surveys have shown that reliability is more important
to businesses than price, and that investment in distribution should
remove some federal congestion charges from customers' electricity
Necci said it's easy for folks to oppose a rate increase, yet he feels
the case for investment and rate increases is compelling. "There's
really no other alternative," he added.
A graph showing the energy investment's correlation to jobs and
economic growth revealed a somewhat negative impact initially followed
by long-term prosperity.
Charting the path forward, many economists view collaboration between
business and state universities and colleges as a key component to
creating a qualified workforce to replace the retiring baby boomer
generation. It was no coincidence, then, that the conference was held
below "edgelab," a unique graduate program where students work with
General Electric professionals and professors on real business projects.
Highlighting the successes of edgelab were Christopher Kalish, GE
director and chief technology officer of edgelab, and James R. Marsden,
head of the Department of Operations and Information Management at
UConn and the director of edgelab.
Traffic, Housing and
"Traffic is a consequence of economic growth," said Steven P. Lanza,
executive editor of The Connecticut Economy.
Posing a question of whether the effects of traffic are such that it
places a "chokehold" on the economy, Lanza answered, "The evidence
doesn't seem to suggest that."
Nonetheless, one way to deal with traffic is to work from home, and
more and more businesses are offering employees the opportunity to do
so, thanks to technology and a potential cost savings that is beginning
to be documented.
The phenomenon is called telecommuting, and approximately 9 percent of
employees in the state are participating. In the last five years alone,
there has been an 86 percent increase in telecommuters in the state,
which is the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road, according
Yet people can't work from home in Fairfield County if they can't
afford one. Despite a fairly cold national real estate market, housing
prices remain high in the county. In terms of median housing costs,
Connecticut is ranked the eighth highest in the nation. That ranking
drops to 14, though, when related to income.
Rosen, gesturing to charts displayed on a large screen, said there has
been a net out-flow of approximately 51,000 domestic households within
the state. "It's that many of our children can't afford to live here,"
While many municipalities offer density bonuses to developers that
build affordable housing units, creating the much-needed stock is not
always easy. Houses may sell for less if property taxes were higher,
while property values would likely increase if property taxes are
reduced. "It's sort of a tricky business," Lanza said.
Immigration is also a complex business, with a great deal of
uncertainty floating about as reform is debated on the national level.
The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is estimated at 11
million, and given Connecticut's close proximity to New York City, the
state certainly has its share.
There has been a recent surge in immigrants to Connecticut, both
legally and otherwise. "We're seeing it at historic levels in
Connecticut and throughout the nation," Lanza said.
Instead of posing a problem, though, the state's immigrants could be
part of the solution to businesses' demand for employees. Lanza said
immigrants in Connecticut tend to be better educated than in other
parts of the country. "They're coming here to work," Rosen said.
Income inequality was another topic of discussion last Friday.
Connecticut currently stands in the middle ground when it comes to
income inequality, with a ranking of .48. Zero is perfect equality and
1 is perfect inequality.
Lanza said the inequality was not because the poor people are doing
worse, it's because "the rich are doing extremely well."
Looking to the future, Lanza said his best guess is that the economy
will slow down through next year, and then begin to pick back up again
"All's fair in love, war and economic development," McDonald said of
the highly competitive market. "We're never standing still. We can't.
If we stand still, we lose."
To Expand Electric Supply; Generator capacity falls behind demand
By Patricia Daddona
Published on 8/29/2006
Connecticut's utilities regulator has drafted a plan to attract
homegrown generators of affordable and reliable electricity, but
contracts would not be awarded until next fall, months after a
shortfall in supplies is expected.
The state Department of Public Utility Control issued its draft
decision Friday saying it wants to see a “broad array” of new
generators of electricity that make use of a “diverse fuel mix” over
the next 15 years, according to agency spokesman David Goldberg. The
more long-term “capacity” — that is, routinely reliable energy sources
—the state has, the better it can cope with demand, he said.
The state and ISO New England, which manages the wholesale supply of
electricity for the region, project the state will be short between 600
and 700 megawatts next year. Yet even if the state's plan to request
proposals is approved by Sept. 15, winning bidders would not be
announced until March and new contracts would be in limbo until late
Goldberg said the plan was developed to bring in new generation as soon
as possible, which, given the time it takes to site and build such
facilities, is expected to be two or three years from now.
“In 2007, we're going to be short,” he said. “We don't anticipate this
RFP (Request for Proposals) will solve the shortfall in '07, but it
will start addressing it in '08 and '09. So it's not an immediate fix,
but it's a fix that will decrease our federally mandated congestion
charges and that's the intent here.”
Federally mandated congestion charges approved earlier this summer by
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are penalties all
ratepayers pay for demand that exceeds supply coming from within the
Lawmakers called for the bid plan as part of the Energy Independence
Act. The draft report says it meets the goals of the state law by
seeking the best combination of projects to generate more electricity,
without limiting the possibilities.
This bid request, says state Rep. Steve Fontana, D-North Haven, “is a
wake-up call,” because Connecticut has already been importing
electricity the state should be producing to meet its own growing
energy needs. Fontana is co-chairman of the legislature's Energy &
“The bottom line is that this formalizes and raises the awareness of
the challenge we face and that we need to be about the business of
coming up with a solution,” said Fontana. “We want Connecticut
ratepayers to understand that we didn't get into this problem overnight
and we won't get out of it overnight — and that the days of cheap
energy are over.”
Successful bidders would provide contracts that increase reliability,
charge the “lowest reasonable costs” to the consumer, and minimize the
effect of the new FERC charges, according to the draft report.
Environmentally friendly technology, energy efficiency and conservation
would all give bidders a leg up in winning contracts, Goldberg said.
Conservation measures and so-called “demand response” would also have
an “immediate” positive effect on the coming increase in demand,
Goldberg said. Demand response is the practice by major users of
reducing the amount of electricity they consumer during times of peak
demand. ISO New England compensates them for such steps.
Other simple steps that could help conserve energy are for major users
to install and fall back on backup generators as needed, Goldberg said.
Where it all
Conn. House OKs restricting electricity
Posted on Apr 29, 1:59 PM EDT
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The Connecticut House has passed legislation
requiring future residential and small business customers to sign up
with one of the state's two major power suppliers.
The amendment passed on a mostly party-line, 103-39 vote, with
Democrats in the majority. It now moves to the Senate, where there is
Supporters say the move to restrict electricity choice would reduce
rates, but opponents say it's bad public policy and would stifle
More than 90 percent of residential and business customers now buy
power from Northeast Utilities or United Illuminating. Supporters say
those customers pay a "risk premium" for allowing a small group to
choose small, alternative power companies. They predict rates could
drop by five percent.
Options Fizzle In State
January 18, 2003
By JOHN M. MORAN, And BARBARA NAGY
Courant Staff Writers
One of only two alternative suppliers
of retail electricity in Connecticut pulled out of the market Friday,
the lone survivor is no longer accepting new customers. As a
Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating - the two former
monopolies - have no competition three years after the state opened its
market to new suppliers.
Mountain Energy, a Texas corporation
supplying "green" power from non-polluting sources, said Friday it was
withdrawing from the Connecticut market effective March 31.
Norwalk-based Levco Tech, the only other competing supplier of electric
power in the state,
said it stopped accepting new customers
on Jan. 1. The company is continuing to serve its 21,000 existing
companies said Connecticut's
standard electric rate - capped by state law - was below current
prices and made it difficult to compete with the former monopoly
Less than 1 percent of the state's 1.5 million electric customers have
switched to competing suppliers.
officials called Friday's developments
a setback for competition. Just five months ago, another independent
the Connecticut Energy Cooperative, collapsed under a heavy debt
The state's rate cap expires at the end of this year, and electric
is one of the toughest issues facing the legislature this year.
Clifton Payne, Green Mountain's
eastern region president, said artificially low prices offered by other
suppliers, costly new regulations and the lack of a robust market for
power sources forced his company to withdraw from the state. The
company's 1,300 customers will be shifted back to Connecticut Light
Power or United Illuminating, depending on where they live.
was a very, very difficult decision,"
Payne said. "Our resources are limited. At least in the short term, we
decided our efforts were better directed to states that have a more
Mountain, one of the nation's
largest providers of green power, said it would focus its resources in
the Northeast on building its customer bases in New Jersey, New York
Levene, Levco's vice president,
said his company stopped accepting customers earlier this month because
wholesale rates for power had moved well beyond the prices available to
consumers with the state's dominant power utilities, CL&P and
Until competitors can acquire power at prices comparable to what
can get with their existing providers, competition is unlikely to
Levene said. Both CL&P and UI locked into lower wholesale
with long-term contracts.
withdrawal of Green Mountain
and Levco from market competition follows last August's failure of the
Connecticut Energy Cooperative, a Hartford-based not-for-profit
that at the time of its demise was providing electricity to 11,000
Lyons, spokeswoman for the
state Department of Public Utility Control, said the loss of Green
as an electrical provider highlights the importance of the legislative
session, where the status of energy competition is expected to be a hot
is absolutely a setback in a
market that is not developing at the speed at which we would have
Lyons said. "It is an issue that the department will be following as
legislature takes it up in this session."
Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford,
vice chairman of the legislature's energy and technology committee,
the state needs to re-examine its energy policy in light of market
that have occurred since the original deregulation bill was passed in
the energy landscape has
changed dramatically over the last year or so," McDonald said. "What
appear to make eminent sense a couple of years ago perhaps has already
become antiquated and outdated."
key point in that debate is likely
to be the appropriate level of the so-called standard offer, which is
baseline rate offered to most electric consumers. Joel Gordes, an
energy consultant and former state legislator, said the standard offer
is now so low that there is "no incentive for anybody to move to a
provider." Gordes advocates assigning customers to different
as a way of "jump-starting" deregulation, evening out the market,
and forcing people to make choices.
doesn't see competition as dead,
but rather dormant - depending on what the legislature does this year.
An extension of the standard offer could delay competition further, he
said. But if the legislature corrects the standard offer and a
minor problems, competition will resume, Gordes predicted.
to the U.S. Department
of Energy, 24 states and the District of Columbia have taken steps to
competition. One, California, has suspended competition. Five -
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma - have delayed its launch.
most states, less than 5 percent
of customers have switched to competing suppliers, according to federal
data. The rest continue to be served by their former utilities under
offers similar to Connecticut's, according to the state's Office of
Research. State Consumer Counsel Mary J. Healey said she regards
the development of a competitive energy marketplace in Connecticut as a
going to take more than two,
three or four years for the electric market to become competitive,"
said. "We're going to be in transition for some time. ... I would say
we're just getting going."
of environmentally friendly
power sources said they were saddened by the withdrawal of Green
but that the move strengthened their resolve to continue the push for
not entirely a big surprise
that Green Mountain is leaving," said Brian Keane, executive director
SmartPower Connecticut, a not-for-profit marketing organization aimed
promoting renewable energy. "Clearly, there is more work to be done in
Stoddard, director of Environment
Northeast's project to boost renewable energy use among corporate and
customers, said finding a good opportunity for consumers is a
"I hope it's a wake-up call to policy makers to look at what we can do
in this state to make it easier for people to buy green power," he said.
for both Northeast Utilities
and United Illuminating said they were sorry to see a competitor leave
the state, but were prepared to take on the affected customers to
that power supplies continued.
ELECTRIC DEREGULATION TIMETABLE
OLR Research Report 2002-R-0541
By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
June 10, 2002
You asked for a timeline of electric industry
deregulation in Connecticut.
Connecticut adopted legislation in May1998
(PA 98-28) that allowed consumers to choose their electric suppliers.
The act required the state's two electric companies and the Department
of Public Utility Control (DPUC) to take steps to establish a
competitive market. Among other things, the act required the companies
to unbundle (separate) their generation components from the rest of
their businesses by October 1, 1999. It required them to auction their
power plants and other generation assets.
The act required DPUC to begin licensing
suppliers by April 1, 1999. It required DPUC to determine the
companies' stranded costs, i.
, costs that it had previously approved for recovery through rates that
might not be receoverable after the start of competition. DPUC made its
initial determinations in the summer of 1999. The act established, as
of January 1, 2000, four charges that are paid by all consumers. It
established charges to fund energy conservation and renewable energy
initiatives and required DPUC to set charges to ensure recovery of
approved stranded costs and to pay for various public policies.
The act allowed consumers in distressed
municipalities to choose their electric supplier as of January 1, 2000
and opened most of the rest of the state to competition as of July 1,
2000. It required the companies to provide standard offer service to
consumers who do not chose a supplier. It required that the rate for
this service be at least 10% below the rates the companies charged on
December 31, 1996.
Most of the act's provisions have already
been implemented. Under current law, standard offer service ends on
December 31, 2003. After that date, utilities must provide default
service to consumers who have not chosen a supplier. The law does not
specify a rate for this service. A bill considered, but not adopted,
this session would have established a pricing method for this service,
with separate rules for low-income consumers, other small consumers,
and large commercial and industrial consumers.
Under the act, a supplier must obtain part of
its power from renewable sources, and the proportion will increase over
the next ten years. The charge on electric bills that is used to
promote renewable energy will increase on July 1, 2002 and July 1,
2004. The act also includes several sunset provisions.
PA 98-28 opened the state's retail electric
industry to competition. (The federal government had previously
deregulated the electric wholesale market.
) The act required the companies to unbundle their generation functions
from their other functions by October 1, 1999. It required them to
auction their power plants and other generation assets. In the case of
non-nuclear assets, the auction had to take place by January 1, 2000.
Both companies successfully competed their auctions by the deadline. In
the case of Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P), an affiliated
company, Select Energy, submitted the winning bid for part of the
company's assets. In contrast, United Illuminating decided to leave the
generation business. All of these plants were sold for more than their
book value, and the excess was used to reduce the companies' stranded
The act required the companies to auction off
their nuclear generation by January 1, 2004. In fact, the companies
submitted their plan to auction the Millstone plants on September 15,
1999, and DPUC approved the plan with modifications on April 19, 2000.
On August 7, 2000, DPUC announced that Dominion Resources
had submitted the winning of approximately $
3 billion. The two companies subsequently auctioned their interests in
the Seabrook plant in New Hampshire.
of Stranded Costs
The act allowed the companies to seek
recovery of their generation-related stranded costs, notably the
above-market costs of their plants and purchased power contracts with
non-utility generators. CL&P submitted its application on March 15,
1999 and DPUC made its initial determination of $
6 billion on July 7, 1999. UI submitted its application on March 24,
1999, and DPUC made its initial determination of $
801 million on August 4, 1999. In both cases, DPUC modified its
stranded costs determinations following the auction of the nuclear
The act required DPUC to begin licensing
suppliers by April 1, 1999, and it issued its first licenses in
December 1999. It has currently licensed 12 suppliers, although most
are not currently seeking customers. It has also licensed 12 entities
as aggregators, which gather customers together to make them more
attractive to suppliers. Several entities are licensed under both
categories. DPUC has a Webpage, http:
nsf/ByElectricApplicants?OpenView&Start=1&Count=30&Expand=2#2, which provides additional information about
the Market to Competition
Consumers in distressed municipalities were
allowed to choose their electric supplier as of January 1, 2000.
Consumers in most other parts of the state were allowed to choose as of
July 1, 2000. Municipal utility customers are not allowed to choose a
supplier unless their municipal utility seeks to serve customers
outside of its service territory; to date none has.
of Standard Offer Service
The act capped retail electric rates at their
1998 levels until December 31, 1999. It required the companies to
provide standard offer service, from January 1, 2000 until December 31,
2003, for consumers who did not choose a competitive supplier. It
required that DPUC set the rates for this service at levels at least 10% below the
level the companies charged on December 31, 1996. Currently,
approximately 99% of consumers are on standard offer service.
The act also required all consumers (whether
they choose a supplier or remained on standard offer service) to pay
four charges as of January 1, 2000. The largest of these is the
competitive transition assessment (CTA), which is used to recover the
companies' stranded costs. The act allows for the issuance of
securitization bonds, backed by the CTA, in connection with certain
stranded costs. (OLR Report 97-R-1006 describes how securitization works.
) The systems benefits charge covers the costs of public policies
associated with the restructuring of the electric industry, including
provisions for dislocated utility workers and municipalities that lost
property tax revenue from power plants. The act required DPUC to set
these charges; the act itself established charges to provide funding
for energy conservation and renewable energy promotion.
Most of the act's provisions have already
gone into effect. The one major future change will occur on December
31, 2003, when standard offer service expires. Thereafter, the
companies will be required to provide default service to customers who
do not choose a supplier (to date, fewer than 1% of customers have
selected a supplier). Unlike standard offer, the law does not specify
the rate to be charged for this service. A bill considered this session
(sHB 5428) would have specified (1) the method by which the companies
would have been required to obtain power for default service and (2)
how this service would be priced. The bill would have made many other
changes in the deregulation law, including its provisions requiring
suppliers to obtain part of their power from renewable sources (the
renewable portfolio standard). The legislature took no action on this
bill, which had passed the Energy and Technology and several other
Under current law, the renewable portfolio
standard will increase each July 1st for the next ten years.
The renewable energy charge will increase from its current level of 0.
05 cent per kilowatt-hour (khw) to 0.
075 cent per kwh on July 1, 2002 and 0.
1 cent per kwh on July 1, 2004
As noted above, the systems benefits charge
covers public policy costs associated with deregulation. These include
costs associated with dislocated utility workers and municipal property
losses attributable to deregulation. By law, the property tax losses
must occur before the 2005 assessment year to be recoverable. PA 02-64
broadened the dislocated worker provision to cover workers affected by
tighter emission standards for older fossil fuel plants. It also
delayed, from 2006 to 2008, the last date these costs could be incurred
and still be recoverable by the systems benefits charge.
As noted above, the law permits the issuance
of securitization bonds backed by the CTA. Such bonds were issued on
behalf of CL&P; United Illuminating determined that this option did
not provide economic benefits for the company. Under the act, the bonds
must mature by December 31, 2011.
Bring DPUC Commissioner
In Town Hall Monday, October
23, 2000, sponsored by Senator Freedman, Representatives Tymniak and
Stripp...the first inkling locally of power issue. The law that
the deregulation ball rolling for utilities was PA98-28
.Guest speaker at this meeting brought
Very few Westonites attended what turns out to have been a very
small group of interested citizens
listened to Commissioner John W. Betkoski, III of the Department of
Control (DPUC) try to explain who,
what, when, where and why--and how--electric power has been
those present that it would
not be a repeat of the telephone "slamming" and general confusion of
times, the Commissioner and staff member William J. Palomba (Consumer
Outreach Coordinator--or "CEO coordinator") noted that much more had to
be done technically as well as on the public education front before
1998 act of the Legislature to deregulate part of the electric power
in our State goes much further.