Friday, October 26, 2007

UI & NRG may be peaking together

NRG and UI are teaming up to put some more power into the grid in the form of "peaking plants." UI, which had to sell off all its power plants as a result of energy de-regulation, is now allowed to get back into the generation business thanks to the latest energy legislation.

Activists from New Haven may want dust off the old picket signs and sandwich boards and brace for a battle. Word is that this dynamic duo has their eyes on existing sites and the English Station seems like an ideal piece of property for this purpose. It's got all the necessary infrastructure, it's tied to the grid, and technically it's never been de-commissioned. An organized effort from activists, environmental groups and city officials managed to stave off Quinnipiac Energy's efforts to get this plant restarted a few years ago, but with $700 million burning a hole in their pocket, this team may not go down so easy. (click here to read the DEP's final decision in pdf format)

Still in question is the environmental cleanup that Quinnipiac Energy was paid to perform on the site. No signs of progress, though most of the money (over a million dollars) has already been spent. Click here to a previous posing regarding this issue.


Anonymous said...

Alert from Rocco J. Frank Jr. Candidate for Milford State Rep. 118th district.

United Illuminating makes a Troubling Power Deal.

On October 24th, 2008 United Illuminating has made a 700 Million Dollar "power deal" with Energy Inc. This money is to be used to build power plants in Connecticut during "Peak Hours." This deal has been sent to energy regulators in Hartford's Department of Utility Control. Should Utility Control approve this plan, UI will be back in the energy generation business as early as 2009. The proposal is expected to arrive at DPUC as early as next year.

For some time now UI has been looking to get back into the energy generation business with little success. UI has gave up its rights to generate electric back in 1999 when they saw fit to outsource all contracts in the hope of better market prices for consumers in our state. This turned out to be a failure as electric costs have spiked.

There has been much controversy in the past with in-state generation, especially with coal burning plants that have been dubbed the "Sooty Six" because of their emissions and smokestack debris that settles in local communities. These "Sooty Six" have contributed to poor air quality in CT adding to our state's other unrelated air quality issues such as ozone pollution in Fairfield County. Many people were relieved to know that in 1999 dirty carbon polluters left our state and were be able to "breathe easier" because of it.

According to the UI press release on yahoo finance, these plants, "could be built on NRG sites in Middletown, Milford, South Norwalk or Uncasville. They would supply between 400 and 700 megawatts of power" only during peak periods to meet additional demand. This project is expected to follow the upgrade of the CT power grid of which was also blamed for high energy rates. UI alleges that CT is strained during peak energy of hot and cold periods in winter and summer, and is citing the CT law requiring them to deliver the "juice."

Rep. Steve Fontana, co-chairman of the Connecticut General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee, said the legislation was a compromise. It was Mr. Fontanas intent to return CT to the Generation business but he could not convince the Legislature to agree with him.

Personally, my feelings are distrustful toward UI, this is because UI was already found guilty of installing faulty meters that overcharged their customers, and offered little relief to businesses. Richard Blumenthal, fearing a repeat of a Enron like fiasco, also sought to keep the power brokers in check by proposing a "Windfall Profits Tax" unfortunately Speaker Jim Amann sided with UI and opposed the windfall profits tax. This was a measure that in my opinion betrayed consumers, and protected the Energy giant UI. Ultimately the Bloomenthal proposal was killed before it ever had a chance to prove itself.

Since the large rate hikes took place, many business's have actually cited the excessive cost of electric as a reason to leave our state, or just close down. Currently CT has among the highest electric rates in America and business's suffer because of it. This aside there is no mention of how these plants will produce energy.

The big question is, are they CO2 emitting smog factories, nuclear nightmares, or another compelling reason to park a massive LNG barge out in the Long Island Sound? These questions must be asked and answered. Connecticut has done everything possible to get our electric rates down and yet they still remain unconscionably high.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell was shocked when she discovered that Connecticut Light & Power followed Ui and has requested yet another rate increase for one million electricity customers. This new proposal demands a 4.6 percent rate hike beginning on January 1, 2008. So far electric rates have recklessly risen 90 percent over the last seven years. This increase outpaces inflation, the CPI, and worker wage increases.

For now I recommend that everyone tune in to UI's conference call on November 2nd, or contact their HQ to find out what the consequences and environmental hazards this new found generation is going to impose. Also, and most importantly, now that CT's taxpayers did everything in their power to build the grid correctly, when are we going to see our rates reduced? I will report again on this issue as more news develops.

This short video is to remind us again of the consumer cry for help.



Anonymous said...

2 min ago
Speaker Jim Amann has opposed Attorney General Richard Blumenthals "Windfall Profits Tax." Now UI has bilked us to the tune of 700 Million Dollars. Money they will use to make deals with Energy Inc. to pollute our air in Milford CT.

Milford still has no break on its high electric rates despite all of its Grid upgrades. Thanks to Amann's lack of loyalty to Milford's needs the pollution of the sooty seven could start flowing into Milford as early as 2009.

Send Jim a copy of your outrageous electric bill and ask him why he is in favor of the several thousands of dollars in per capita profits that allowed UI to accumulate 700 Million practically overnight.

This really is horrible representation, protest loudly, tell Amann that you will not vote for his pro-greed agenga. Amann needs to be gone next election unless he dis-engages from this type of cronyism and racketeering. He is a traitor who betrayed us on energy.


Anonymous said...

Today was the day I left my office to pay my electric bill at ShopRite on Cherry Street. While I was there it was an opportunity to speak to the desk clerk about local citizens, and business owners. They were kind enough to share their experiences with the power struggle in CT.

The clerk told me that activity at the desk was higher than usual in the last year with more people paying their bill partially. This is consistent with the UI conference call that indicates their "Uncollected Recievables" to be higher.

Despite our personal energy struggles here in town, these higher rates have been great news for UI this third quarter. Even with the UI executives commenting on a warmer winter so far this year over last their per share jump grew by a whopping 75%. Most of these executives focused their time down playing this profit and redirected their conversation to all their liabilities of which include their Milford pollution project of a new power plant part of a 700 Million dollar upgrade in conjunction with Energy Inc. In other words it appears they they are "cooking the books" to hide their shameful 75% profit increase.

Gov. Rell indicated that CT has had its power nearly double over the last 7 years, and the massive UI conglomerate continues to aggressively pursue generation in CT. The DPUC on June 1st 08, is set to rule on the approval of this project, and yet there is still no comment on how these plants are going to produce energy. My concern is that if these projects, like the Norwalk Project now half done is going to be a gas based project.

The North East barely has enough gas to fuel our basic needs let alone power generation. If the construction of these "peak energy" plants, (of which I believe are just a ruse to take advantage of CT's outrageous electric costs) is going to burn natural gas than we will have more of a compelling reason for the construction of a massive LNG nightmare.

UI must be confronted on this as should be Jim Amann who opposed the "Windfall Profits Tax" that Blumenthal proposed. Milford residents keep getting betrayed on energy by politicians like Amann who continue to tell us one thing while deciding in favor of big corporations. Call Jim Amann and voice your opposition to the Milford power plant and the LNG that will soon be associated with it in our sound. Demand the implementation of the "Windfall profits tax."

Hear the entire November 2nd UI conference call at this link: UI 3Q Conference Call.

Posted by Rocco J. Frank Jr.

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