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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Business Of Saving Energy


Saving energy isn't just good business for those companies that practice it. It's also big business for utilities whose programs help make it happen.

Connecticut Light & Power Co. is in line to receive $2.4 million in performance management fees from the state for its involvement in energy efficiency programs if it achieves certain thresholds during the calendar year, said Ronald Araujo, manager of conservation and load management for Northeast Utilities. Berlin, Conn.-based NU is CL&P's corporate parent.

But achieving those thresholds may prove to be a bit more difficult to do, in part because of uncertainty over state funding needed to promote energy efficiency programs that CL&P offers, Araujo said.

"We're not seeing the level of activity that we'd like to see up to this point," he said, following a forum CL&P held in Cromwell on Thursday on federal stimulus money that is available for energy efficiency projects in Connecticut communities. "We haven't been able to promote our programs as much as we'd like to at this point."

Araujo said CL&P's ability to promote its energy efficiency programs through the first six months of this year was hampered by concerns that some or all of the money used to pay for promotions would be diverted to Connecticut's General Fund as part of efforts to balance the state budget.

While the state budget is still unresolved, CL&P will use some of the $17 million it got recently from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to promote its energy efficiency programs.

Connecticut is one of 10 states that participate in the RGGI, a mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The participating states sell emission allowances through auctions and invest the money they get in return in energy efficiency programs.

Araujo said that the lack of promotion of CL&P's energy efficiency programs has had an impact on participation levels.

"The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund's programs are over subscribed; CL&P's are not," he said.

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