CT Businesses Have a Message to Legislators: Restore the Energy Efficiency Fund

Connecticut’s high-quality energy efficiency programs help many businesses save money, improve their bottom line, create new jobs that pay well, and compete locally and nationally. Last year alone, over 6,000 in-state businesses benefited from these crucial programs. Helping businesses cut costly energy waste also helps grow Connecticut’s economy, as each $1 spent by these energy efficiency programs produces $7 in economic growth. That’s an unparalleled return on investment for the Nutmeg State. Unfortunately, Connecticut took a major step backwards on efficiency near the end of last year. Under extreme fiscal pressure, the General Assembly diverted $127 million in ratepayer funding
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Energy Efficiency Is Working in New England

Over the past few years, electric consumption has been declining in New England even as the population and economy have grown. This is due in large part to energy efficiency (EE) gains, which have dramatically reduced the amount of electricity consumed in the region and are projected to do so even more in the future. Declines in peak demand The hour of highest electricity demand in New England determines the region’s infrastructure needs. The system is built to ensure it can reliably supply electricity during that hour, which usually occurs on a hot summer weekday. For the first time ever,
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Regulator cuts Eversource rate request by more than half to $124.7M

PURA approved a fixed customer charge of $9.50, down from $19.25, which adheres to a law passed by state lawmakers in 2015. High fixed charges burden seniors and low-income customers and reduce customers’ incentives to conserve electricity, Acadia said. “Consumers everywhere prefer choice and control, and this lower monthly fixed charge will give customers substantially more control over their electric bills,” Bill Dornbos, Acadia Center’s advocacy director, said in a statement. “The new rate design will also help promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, more closely aligning Connecticut’s electricity rates with its energy policy goals.” Read the full article from
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Eversource Customers To See Rates Rise Under PURA Decision

PURA’s decision also lowers the fixed fee Eversource customers are charged, regardless of how much electricity they use, from $19.25 to under $9.50 a month. Katz said that reduction will primarily benefit lower-income Eversource customers and consumers that significantly reduce their electricity use. She said most residential consumers will see their overall Eversource bills rise by that $5.40 per month. “By enacting this significant reduction, Connecticut brings the state’s residential customer charges down to levels that are comparable with national best practices and recognizes that high fixed charges run counter to consumer interests and a clean energy future,” said Mark
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Victory for Consumers and Clean Energy in Connecticut Electric Rate Case

Approved Settlement Significantly Reduces Eversource Residential Customer Charges HARTFORD, CT – On April 18, 2018, the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) announced its decision to lower the customer charge for Eversource residential customers from $19.25 to below $9.50. This 50% reduction follows the requirements of a 2015 law enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly to limit residential customer charges, the fixed fee that customers pay regardless of the amount of energy used. Acadia Center first raised this issue in Connecticut in Eversource’s previous 2014 rate case, and, since 2015, has participated in two rate cases and a generic proceeding
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Advocates seek more momentum for Massachusetts offshore wind

Boston-based attorney Mark LeBel says the clean energy non-profit Acadia Center where he works “strongly supports going big on offshore wind all across New England,” but recognizes that the appeal of hydropower is its low price. “There are plenty of questions about hydropower. It’s not a perfect resource,” he says. “Hydro-Quebec has been building out new dams for roughly the last decade with the idea of selling to new customers.” LeBel emphasizes that the more renewable sources Massachusetts can bring online, the less additional natural gas infrastructure it will need. Read the full article from Energy New Network here.

Central Hudson Agrees to Reduce Its Residential Customer Charge, Benefiting Consumers and Clean Energy

NEW YORK — On April 18, Central Hudson Gas and Electric proposed a settlement in its ongoing rate proceeding, in which it agrees to reduce its current electric and gas residential customer charge from $24 to $19.50 over three years. Central Hudson’s customer charge reduction makes it the first New York utility to reduce its customer charge in more than a decade. Jen Metzger, Director of Citizens for Local Power, said: “Central Hudson’s historically high fixed charges have been a burden on many seniors and low- and moderate-income households, which tend use less energy. We welcome this important step in the
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For Fairer Electric Bills, Lower Fixed Charges

Residential electricity rates are typically comprised of two basic parts — a volumetric charge based on energy used and a monthly fixed charge, which is typically referred to as a customer charge. Customer charges are flat fees that every customer pays, regardless of the amount of electricity or gas used. Because utilities have a fixed revenue requirement, higher customer charges lead to lower volumetric charges, and vice versa. Over the past several years, utilities across the country have pushed for higher customer charges, in part because they provide a guaranteed revenue stream. Acadia Center has developed materials showing that fixed charges
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Our Turn: Erika Niedowski and Meg Kerr: Addressing rural concerns about clean energy development

Renewable energy siting challenges are not unique to Rhode Island, but they are particularly pronounced given the state’s small size and high population density. Rhode Island has made ambitious commitments to clean energy deployment and carbon emissions reductions, including 45 percent reductions by 2035 and 80 percent by 2050. As the state progresses towards its renewable energy goals, pressures are increasing to develop land with solar or wind resources, causing concern in some communities, especially rural ones. With smart local siting policies, both “green” goals of clean energy and land conservation can be achieved: Rhode Island communities can enjoy both
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Debate over Millstone rages on

“Millstone Power Station may play a role in the state’s transition to the clean energy future, but Connecticut needs a realistic, long-term plan to replace the plant with clean energy,” Acadia Center said this week. In the absence of such a plan, Acadia Center argued new fossil fuel power plants eventually would replace Millstone. Ratepayers would be on the hook for new gas pipeline infrastructure to support them, which “would be almost immediately incompatible with the state and region’s mandatory greenhouse gas targets,” the environmental advocacy group said. Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).