Sunday, June 3, 2007

Back In Business

Looks like UI and CL&P are going to be back in the business of generating electricity. Nobody seems very confident that this will help reduce electricity rates. So why are they passing the bill? I think Mr. Looney sums up the reasoning quite nicely:
"It's a difficult process because of its complexity," said Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven. He said the multitude of provisions in the 165-page bill were "discussed in sometimes agonizing detail."
In other words its a long bill that they don't understand and don't really enjoy hearing explained.

Actually, the way the bill is set up it may provide some relief over the next few years. The utilities will be allowed to build and operate their own peaking plants. They will operate (in theory) only during times of highest demand, when open market electricity prices shoot through the roof.

The bill does have some other provisions, such as varying rates based on the time of day power is used and offering tax breaks for energy-efficient appliances. I believe it also includes new efficiency standards for appliances, though I haven't seen the details yet. This is a much-needed change, but I think it is more suited for federal control, as we will likely only limit the number of available models (manufacturers will not make CT-only washing machines).

I think a real overhaul would somehow restructure the whole industry such that energy companies' profits do not depend so much on KWh sold. Right now everyone is just trying to sell more and more product and this really works against conservation. Any conservation initiatives are mandated by the gov't and paid by me and you through extra charges (per KWh) on our electric bills.

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