Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Haven School Gets Grant From Utility

Congratulations are in order for students at  New Haven's Mauro-Sheridan Interdistrict Magnet School for Science, Technology and Communications.

An entry submitted by students at the school came in second in Connecticut Light & Power's Youth Video Contest. The video "Light and Power" earned the school a $1,000 grant from CL&P.

The contest required middle school students to create a video of 90 seconds or less demonstrating the importance of safe, reliable energy to Connecticut, our communities and our daily lives.

Students from The Sherman School in Sherman took first place and received a $3,500 grant for their video, "What Would We Be Without CL&P?" 

"Congratulations to the winners and all of those who submitted videos," said Jim Muntz, president and chief operating officer of CL&P.  "Everyone did a great job communicating in some very interesting and creative ways how vital electricity is.  The judges had some tough choices to make." 

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

State Fills Energy Procurement Post

The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has hired the vice president of a Waterbury-based manufacturing industry trade group to serve as the agency’s first-ever power procurement manager.

Jeff Gaudiosi of Windsor (shown at left) will start his new, $92,041-a-year job for the DEEP on Feb. 10th. Gaudiosi, 39, has worked with the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut (MAC) since 1997.

Gaudiosi said his new job will be a challenge “because we’re bringing the state into an area where we’ve never been before.

The procurement manager’s job was created last year as part of Public Act 11-80, sweeping energy legislation that was approved by Connecticut lawmakers.

His job involves developing plans for the efficient purchase of electric power for consumers who still buy their electricity through the state’s legacy utilities, The United Illuminating Co. and Connecticut Light & Power. In an effort to lower electric rates for the so-called “standard service” customers, Gaudiosi will be responsible for devising annual plans that make a portfolio of power contracts available to UI and CL&P.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Vermont Yankee Owner Scores Victory in Court

Efforts by state lawmakers to shutdown the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant were dealt a setback Friday when a federal judge ruled that the facility can remain open beyond its original shutdown date later this year.

The Associated Press reports that the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha is a victory for the plant's owner, New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. The ruling comes following a three-day trial in September in which officials for the utility company argued that Vermont's efforts to close the plant (shown at left) are prohibited by federal law.

In an unattributed written statement, Entergy officials had this reaction to Friday's ruling: "We're pleased with the decision, which Judge Murtha issued after a thorough review of the facts and the law."

The case is being watched closely by opponents of nuclear power around the country because a finding in favor of Vermont officials would likely have set a legal precedent in future court battles. Entergy is also a prominent player in the nuclear power industry in the Northeast, operating the Pilgrim plant in Plymouth, Mass. and Indian Point in Westchester County, N.Y.

 The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a 20-year extension of Vermont Yankee's license last March. But Vermont law requires the lawmakers there to support the extension as well and a bill to grant legislative approval was rejected by the state Senate and was not acted upon by the House.

The New Haven Register's sister paper, the Brattleboro Reformer, has more on the judge's ruling as well as efforts by Entergy to have the case moved to a federal court.

Cheryl Hanna, a professor of constitutional law at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, told the Register that the message Judge Murtha's decision sends, both to lawmakers from the Green Mountain State and elsewhere, is that "there has to be legitimate articulated reasons beyond health and safety concerns that you're looking to use to shut down a nuclear plant."

"Vermont lawmakers didn't do a particularly good job articulating their reasons for want to shut down Vermont Yankee beyond the safety concerns," Hanna said. "Federal law prohibits safety concerns from being the primary motivation in going to court to shut down a nuclear plant."

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Connecticut Gets Additional Low Income Energy Assistance Funding

The state's Congressional delegation announced Thursday afternoon that Connecticut is getting an additional $19 million in funding from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The latest release of LIHEAP funds to Connecticut is in addition to the $59 million that has been given to the state since last October.

The money that Connecticut received from LIHEAP comes from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

"There are low-income families, children and seniors across the country that need help paying to heat their homes," said Jeanin Chaffin, director of  the agency's Office of Community Services. "We recognize the importance of getting these funds out quickly so that families can get the help they need during the winter."

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