Blogs > Power to the People

Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NU To Unveil Northern Pass Transmission Line Route on Thursday

 HARTFORD - Amid much secrecy, Northeast Utilities said Wednesday evening it will announce the  route for its controversial Northern Pass transmission line project on Thursday.

The proposed route for the 180-mile transmission line, which will bring cheap hydroelectric power into New England from Quebec, will be announced at a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. It will be held in Hooksett, N.H., which is located between Manchester and Concord.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is opposed to the Northern Pass project. Plans call for the line project to end in southern New Hampshire, where electricity from the line would then be distributed into Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

There is concern about what construction of the line might do northern New Hampshire’s woodlands. And Connecticut environmentalists are angry because they believe plans for the project helped shape changes made to the state’s renewable energy portfolio that allow for the inclusion of large scale hydropower.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Some Thoughts While Riding The Storms Out....

Less than a week ago, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy insisted that the state was ready for the hurricane season of 2013.

That was after a quick, but violent, storm on June 17th left 21,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers without power. The press conference at which Malloy insisted Connecticut's utilities were ready was the next afternoon at the state's Emergency Operations Center in Hartford and by that time, the company had the power back on.

“Last night’s storm was really severe,” said William Quinlan, senior vice president for emergency preparedness for the utility. “We can’t prevent every outage.”

Malloy said that both CL&P and The United Illuminating Co. would be judged not only on their ability to keep the lights on, but their ability to restore customers to service quickly when their power goes out.

Okay, fair enough. But perhaps the assembled media - myself included - should have pressed the Governor a little harder on whether the electric companies are prepared to deal with a typical Connecticut summer weather and all the heat, humidity and thunderstorms that come with it.

Okay, now fast forward six days to today.

 Monday was the first day of what is supposed to be a three-day-heatwave. At one point shortly before 8 p.m., more than 6,800 CL&P customers were without power.

 And that was before the worst of the weather that is supposed to hit Connecticut later Monday evening.

A company spokeswoman said the largest outages - in the eastern Connecticut towns of Andover, Columbia, Glastonbury and Hebron  - were all caused by lightning strikes that knocked down tree limbs onto wires.

But if one day of heat, humidity and a few lightening strikes leaves thousands without power, what will two or three days do? Hopefully, Monday was just an aberration.

The last two years have fundamentally changed the way we look at our electric companies. They - particularly the utility workers that have to make the repairs - have a tough job to do. 

 But I honestly believe that utility customers get tired of hearing trees cited as the only reason that Connecticut utility customers lose power so frequently.

Just something to consider as you ponder whether Gov, Malloy made an accurate assessment last week.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Web Site Offers Gas Vs. Electric Fuel Comparison

Owners of gas-powered vehicles in Connecticut pay more than twice what electric car owners do for comparable amount of fuel, a new federal Energy Department web site estimates.

The federal agency's eGallon site estimates that a typical electric vehicle can travel as far on $1.70 worth of electricity. The web site had the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the state at $3.58 a gallon.

“The eGallon will bring greater transparency to vehicle operating costs, and help drivers figure out how much they might save on fuel by choosing an electric vehicle," U.S. ” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement Wednesday.   "It also shows the low and steady price of fueling with electricity. Not only can electric vehicles save consumers on fuel and reduce our dependence on oil, they also represent an opportunity for America to lead in a growing, global manufacturing industry.”

Sales of plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. tripled in 2012, with more than 50,000 cars sold.  Sales are growing significantly again in 2013. 

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