Blogs > Power to the People

A common sense look at energy issues in the state of Connecticut and how they affect the state's residents

Friday, December 26, 2014

Connecticut Is One Nation's Top States for Fuel Cells, New Report Says

The U.S. Department of Energy has ranked Connecticut as one of top five states in the country when it comes to use of fuel cells and development of the power source.

The federal agency's 82-page report, "State of the States: Fuel Cells in America 2014" was released earlier this month. Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement that the state's ranking in the latest edition of the report, as well as the previous four editions of the publication, "demonstrates that our work to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy sources for Connecticut residents and businesses is paying off.”

"The U.S. fuel cell industry employs thousands of residents and generates millions of dollars in economic activity and tax revenue," Malloy said. "That is why we have implemented the policies necessary to drive the use of fuel cells and ensure there is no better place for the renewable energy sector to continue to grow and create jobs than right here in Connecticut."

Among the major fuel cell advances in Connecticut that the report cites are:

- The 2013 launch on the nation's largest  fuel cell power station, 14.9 megawatts, which was installed by Danbury-based FuelCell Energy, and is operated by energy producer and transporter, Dominion Energy.

- Two fuel cells that The United Illuminating Co. is installing in 2015 in Bridgeport and New Haven that will produce  5.6 megawatts od power between them.

- Plans by South Korea's Doosan Co., which bought the assets of  bankrupt ClearEdge Power, to hire 150 employees by the end of 2015 for the headquarters of its American fuel cell business.

Connecticut companies are estimated to have generated close to $600 million in revenue and investment annually. 

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Stamford Electric Grid Upgrade Completed

Connecticut Light & Power has completed a nearly nine-month long project designed to improve electric reliability in Stamford.

Work on the project started in March and was completed at the end of last month, CL&P officials said.The Stamford Reliability Cable Project covered about 1.5 miles through the Fairfield County community's downtown and made its way beneath the Metro North commuter rail as well as along highway corridors. The project connected two existing substations in the city's Glenbrook and South End neighborhoods with 115,volt cables, according to CL&P officials.

 In the photo shown at left, members of the Stamford Fire Department are briefed by a project contractor on the tunneling operation under the Metro-North Railroad right of way near Lincoln Avenue.

Dwayne Basler, vice president of transmission projects, engineering & maintenance for Northeast Utilities, CL&P's corporate parent said the project is an example of a highly targeted investment in the utility company's distribution network. 

 “These investments ensure reliable, cost-effective energy for our customers and support the continued economic growth in southwest Connecticut,” Basler said in a statement..

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Northeast Utilities Declares Quarterly Dividend

Northeast Utilities (NU) announced Wednesday that its board has approved a dividend of 39.25 cents per share of common stock.

The dividend is line with the Hartford-based utility company's previously quarterly dividend payment, which was made at the end of September. The dividend announced Wednesday will be paid out on Dec. 31 to shareholder of record as of the close of business on Dec. 15.

NU has approximately 317 million in common shares outstanding.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Solar Company To Hold Middletown Job Fair

When NRG Home Solar made its Connecticut debut this summer, company executives said they hoped to hire 75 people over the next year.

Now the company is taking specific steps to deliver on that promise. NRG Home Solar will hold a job fair at its Connecticut headquarters in Middletown on Nov. 20th. 

The company's headquarters is at 299 Industrial Park Drive in Middletown. The job fair will be from 3 p.m to 7 p.m.

NRG Home Solar is looking to hire candidates in solar sales, solar installers, kiosk lead generators, and administrators. Training in all solar fields is available to qualified candidates.

For more information on the job fair or about employment  with NRG Home Solar, call Erica Miele at 732-568-8482.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

United Illuminating Demonstrates Safety Procedures For Chinese Visitors

A delegation of Chinese safety experts came to Connecticut Friday to see how United Illuminating line crews are able to make repairs to energized overhead electric wires carrying 13,800 volts of electricity.

The demonstration occurred on the Boston Post Road in downtown Fairfield. A portion of the demonstration is shown in the contributed photo at left.
In China, such work is often performed on lines that have been de-energized, according to UI officials. That means customers lose service while the work is being done.
The Chinese task force included safety officials representing a collection of governmental, industrial and utility groups who are participating in an informational tour to observe U.S. safety practices. The visit was arranged in part by Terex Corp., the Westport-based company that makes the bucket trucks that UI line crews use to reach overhead wires.
 “With the recent expansion of the Chinese economy, the need to provide reliable energy to the businesses, hospitals and other power-critical customers becomes greater, as does the need to do hot-line work which requires the proper training, tools and work policies to do it safely,” Jim Lohan, vice president for sales at Terex’s utilities division, said in a statement.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Study Says Connecticut Energy Costs High, But So Are Efforts to Reduce Usage

While it hardly comes a surprise that Connecticut consumers have some of the highest energy bills in the country, a new study actually quantifies costs here versus other states and the District of Columbia.

The new WalletHub study ranks Connecticut as the third most expensive state for energy costs trailed by only Mississippi and Hawaii. Connecticut's residents average $404 per month in energy costs, which WalletHub calculates using three components: Monthly electric and natural gas costs as well as automotive fuel costs.

The average Connecticut resident pays $143 per month for electricity. Only residents of Hawaii, who have an average electric bill of $209 per month pay more than those of us in the Nutmeg State.

Connecticut residents pay an average of $98 for natural gas costs. That may give pause to those among us who are considering whether to convert from heating their homes from oil to natural gas as part of the ten-year long push to expand usage of the fuel in the state under Gov. Dannel Malloy's Strategic Comprehensive Energy Strategy.

Only three other places saw their residents pay more on average per month for natural gas, according to the WalletHub study: Alaska, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Surprisingly, Connecticut ranks 14th in what WalletHub identifies as fuel costs for gasoline with average monthly expense coming in at $167 per month. The study reaches that number through a calculation that involves average monthly vehicle miles traveled / average car consumption /number of drivers

I have to admit I'm a little skeptical on this ranking.

 Let's assume that the average Connecticut household has two cars. Knowing that it's pretty hard to get a full tank of gas for less than $50, that would mean that the two-car household could only fill up three times a month.

One thing the study claims that Connecticut excels at is efficient energy use. The state is ranked 10th in fuel consumption per drive and 16th in terms of electricity consumption per consumer.

WalletHub is a social media network that provides tools that it says help consumers maker smarter financial decisions.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cheshire Schools Win State Award For Energy Efficiency

Cheshire's public school system has earned the Municipal Difference Maker Leadership Award as part of the 2014 Power of Change Awards, which were handed out June 17.

The school district was honored for launching energy projects including lighting retrofits, a solar energy classroom and maximizing incentives received from Connecticut Light & Power. Frank Biancur, the district's maintenance foreman, accepted the award on behalf of the district during a ceremony at the State Capitol.

The 2014 Power of Change Award celebrated the energy efficiency achievements of more than 20 Connecticut state agencies and municipalities. Wallingford's Energy Conservation Commission took an honorable mention in Municipal Difference Maker Leadership Award category while the city of Milford's school system won top honors in the Power of Change Top Building Award for municipalities. Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is shown at left in the photo above with Frank Biancur after presenting the award. The Power Of Change Award was created to honor the best achievements and innovations in energy efficiency across Connecticut's state and municipal buildings. The award is sponsored by three Connecticut-based foundations – the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund.

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