Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Westport Plugs In To Electric Vehicle Charger Network

Connecticut Light & Power debuted the first of its municipal charging stations for electric vehicles in Westport on Monday.

The charging station is located in the Luciano Park Commuter Lot on Charles Street and parking pass-holders can charge their electric vehicles for free. The 240-volt charging station there can fully charge a Chevy Volt in four hours.

The station was installed by CL&P as part of a study to determine how electric vehicle owners use and charge their cars. Similar stations are planned for West Hartford and Mansfield and Torrington.

“We’ve worked hard to make Connecticut an early market for EVs,” said Jeff Butler, CL&P’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re excited to see towns like Westport take advantage of the opportunity to become a leader in clean technology.”

Dan Esty, commissioner of the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, lauded the company's research initiative.

“By anticipating and supporting the market for new plug-in EVs, we can all benefit from a cleaner, lower-cost and locally available fuel alternative,” Esty said. “Connecticut is well positioned to lead in the deployment of electric vehicles and related infrastructure, and this initiative is a step towards achieving our goal of being a national leader.”

The Connecticut charging stations will be part of a network of more than 30 locations that data will be collected from across three states. C
L&P's sister companies Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and Public Service Company of New Hampshire have already installed charging stations at company offices in Springfield, Mass. and Manchester, N.H. respectively.

All three companies are part of Berlin, Conn.-based Northeast Utilities. To further raise awareness of electric vehicles, NU has developed a regional on-line resource called “Plug My Ride” to connect consumers and other groups interested in electric transportation.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And They Wonder Why People Worry About Nuclear Power Plants............


The Associated Press is reporting on a disturbing foul-up at the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford. As a colleague said to me when mentioning this story, "It's like something out of "The Simpsons."

Here's the AP story:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that operators at the Millstone nuclear plant in Connecticut failed in numerous ways - including an operator who pressed the wrong button numerous times - while testing turbine control valves last February that caused a power surge.

As a result, federal regulators said they will impose more oversight at the Millstone Power Station in Waterford. The plant, on Connecticut's southeast coast, is the only nuclear power plant in the state. Officials said at the time that the Feb. 12 surge posed no public danger.

The NRC said an operator noticed an increase in pressure at the plant, which is owned by the Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources Inc., and incorrectly pressed an "increase" button instead of a "decrease" button. When the pressure did not fall the operator pressed the "increase" button three more times and then pressed the "decrease" button twice.

Those actions resulted in a rapid, unintended rise in reactor power, regulators said. A senior operator added to the problem by failing to notice reactor power was rising and withdrew control rods, the NRC said

Bill Dean, region administrator at NRC, said plant safety at Millstone (shown at left) was not affected due to the incident, but regulators hold control room operators to the highest standards.

"This inspection finding signals the need for plant personnel to step back and learn from this event in order to prevent it from occurring again," he said.