Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boston-based Energy Firm Doing Work For Six New Haven-area Towns

Six New Haven area communities have hired SourceOne, a Boston-based energy management company, to achieve energy savings of at least 5 percent in each of the towns.

Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison and Westbrook hired SourceOne using money from a $250,000 grant from the State Office of Policy and Management. The towns have formed a regional energy commission and applied for the state grant.

SourceOne was selected from a field of seven finalists, according to company officials. The company has a Hartford office to serve its Connecticut clients.

The company will perform the following services for the towns:

- Energy audits.
- Renewable energy assessments.
- Grant/incentive research.
- Short and long term energy conservation projects as well as project planning.

Vincent Martin (shown above), president of SourceOne, said the company will tailor its services "to meet each town’s long-term needs, as well as the requirements of the regional energy commission."

"We have an excellent track record in the New England area, and we are excited by this opportunity,” Martin said.

SourceOne manages more than 850 megawatts of electric power, 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and $500 million of utility bill processing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Solar Panel Maker to Open Office in Cheshire

A Chinese company that makes solar panels for the utility, residential and commercial markets will open its second North American office in Cheshire.

It was not immediately clear Friday where in town Solarfun Power Holdings plans to open its office, when that opening might occur or how many employees would staff the facility. The company, which is headquartered in Shanghai, announced its plans in a press release put out on Friday.
Jerry Sitko, the town's economic development coordinator (shown above), was not available for comment, on the company's plans. And members of the community's Economic Development Commission said they had not been briefed on the company's plans, although an agenda item on Solarfun Power is on the agenda for the group's next meeting on Tuesday.

"Supporting the growing North American market remains one of our top priorities," said Bruce Ludemann, Vice President and General Manager of Solarfun North America. "As the demands of the utility, commercial and residential markets continue to expand, we're working to provide customers additional access to Solarfun's high-quality and reliable products and project development support."

Solarfun also has a facility in Costa Mesa, Ca. To see a brochure on the company, click here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lawsuit Against State Utility Regulators to be Heard on Monday in Superior Court

A Superior Court Judge in New Britain on Monday is expected to hear the merits of a citizen lawsuit against a plan approved by state lawmakers earlier this year to borrow against money collected on customers electric bills.

Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman will hear arguments from State Senator-elect Joe Markley (shown at left) that borrowing against the Competitive Transition Assessment (CTA) charge on customers electric bills amounts to a hidden tax. The CTA was created to pay for costs associated with Connecticut’s 10-year old deregulation of the electric industry

Markley, who is from Southington and was elected in November to represent the state’s 16th Senate District, filed the lawsuit earlier this year against the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC). The DPUC has jurisdiction over the charges that appear on customers’ electric bills.

"The DPUC is not a taxing authority," Markley said "What we’re dealing with now is a tax to bridge the gap in the current state budget. It has nothing to do with the electric companies any more."

The CTA was a charge to help the state’s dominant power providers, The United Illuminating Co. and Connecticut Light & Power, recover so-called "stranded cost" when they were forced under the deregulation law to sell off their power plants under the state’s deregulation law.

Stranded costs are expenses the companies incurred, with DPUC approval, whose continued recovery was jeopardized by the law that allowed customers to choose their electric supplier.
The CTA is scheduled to end when those stranded costs are paid off. That was supposed to happen this year for CL&P and in 2013 for UI.

But because the state lawmakers voted to borrow against the money collected through the CTA, "we’re now in the position of having to pay over a number of years for money that has essentially already been spent," Markley said.

"It’s a very poor precedent," Markley said. "I want clarity and transparency in government."

Joining Markley in court on Monday will be Paula Panzarella, who is representing the New Haven-based group, Fight the Hike. Panzarella has filed a motion to join as a plaintiff in Markley’s lawsuit.

"Electric rates in Connecticut are the highest in the continental United States," Panzarella said. "Customers were to get a modicum of relief when the CTA expired. Instead, the legislature renamed the charge Economic Revenue Recovery Bonds (ERRB) and decided to use the fee to cover borrowing."