Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Farmington River Legislation Proposed By Congresswoman Esty Clears First Hurdle

 The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill on Tuesday that was introduced  by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty last Friday.

 The Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act would permit the towns of Canton, Avon, and Burlington to operate a pair of small hydropower dams that are currently inactive and generate locally produced power.  This is the third time that Congress has consider this particular issue: Then-5th District Congressman Chris Murphy, a Democrat was successfull in getting ssimilar legislation passed in  the House in 2010 and 2012 only to have the Senate fail to take up the bill.

“This project is a win-win – empowering local communicates in the Farmington Valley and moving our state towards a clean energy future,” Esty said in a written statement released Tuesday afternoon. This was the first bill that Esty, who is a resident of Cheshire, had introduced since being sworn in earlier this month.

The legislation now moves to the full House for consideration. It must also be approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama before the towns can take over

The dams are expected to produce nearly two megawatts of power, enough to power more than 1,500 homes.

Both dams are located on the Farmington River in the Collinsville section of Canton. They are owned by Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, but licenses to operate the dams must be obtained from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The federal legislation will give the three towns the right to operate the dams by reinstating existing, but inactive FERC licenses.

The dams were built in the 18th and 19th centuries to power the Collins Company, which is shown in the present-day photo above. The company manufactured axes and closed in the 1960s.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

State Utility Regulator Named To Leadership Positions

Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) Vice Chairman John Betkoski III, has been chosen to serve in two leadership positions with organizations that are focused on utility issues.

Betkoski has been named president of New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners (NECPUC). He has also been selected to serve on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

NECPUC deals with matters of regional regulatory concern for utilities in the six-state region. NARUC represents the interests of public utility commissioners across the country in dealings with the federal government's executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Betkoski was appointed by NARUC President David Wright of South Carolina to represent the New England states.  He has been active on several NARUC committees since 2000.

“I am honored to appoint Jack Betkoski  to the Executive Committee, where we will all benefit from his service," Wright said in a written statement. "He is a constant champion for consumers and improved utility regulation.”

Betkoski has served as a Connecticut regulator since 1997 when he was name to serve on what was then known as the Department of Public Utility Control. He was chosen as vice chairman of the DPUC in 2007 and when PURA was created in July 201, Betkoski was named vice chairman of the new agency.

 Betkoski is a resident of Beacon Falls.

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