Energy Committee Members Weigh in with in-depth Critique of Connecticut’s Power Grid and Utilities

As hundreds of thousands of Eversource customers wait into the weekend for the utility to restore electrical service, the company has drawn scrutiny from state lawmakers who promise hearings to investigate its storm preparedness and response. More than 900,000 Eversource customers lost power after Tropical Storm Isaias blew through Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon, downing trees and power lines in every corner of the state. Eversource assured customers on Thursday that an estimated 99 percent of customers will have power on Tuesday, and that additional out-of-state mutual aid crews will help make “significant progress” over the weekend. Already, Gov. Ned Lamont

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As Eversource and United Illuminating Struggle, Smaller Utilities Across Connecticut Shine in Storm Response

Municipal electric utilities with small and compact customer bases — like Norwich Public Utilities and Town of Wallingford Electric Division — have made quick progress restoring power to customers after Tropical Storm Isaias even as hundreds of thousands of customers of Eversource and United Illuminating remain without power on Thursday night. By the end of Wednesday night, Norwich Public Utilities had restored power to 5,500 of the 6,500 affected customers. The utility expects that 99 percent of its customers will have power by the end of Thursday, just two days after about a third of Norwich’s 20,000 customers lost power.

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PURA Orders Eversource to Restore Prior Rates for Electricity to Customers in Connecticut

With public outcry escalating about higher electric bills, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority ordered Eversource on Friday to immediately restore delivery rates that were in effect on June 30. PURA said the agency had received numerous complaints related to the increased delivery charges incurred by Eversource ratepayers and will temporarily suspend approval of the new rates.  “Due to the convergence of a number of recent events, including the July 1st administrative adjustment to certain delivery rate components, the COVID-19 crisis and its corresponding effect on customer energy usage, as well as the higher than normal temperatures this month, Eversource customers

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As Eversource Sharply Increases Electricity Costs for Connecticut Customers, Millstone Deal Blamed, Lawmakers Call for Hearings

Questions continue to mount about increases in electricity delivery charges on Eversource bills of many Connecticut residents and businesses since July 1.  Eversource has pointed to a “variety of factors” leading to the increases, but legislators on the Energy and Technology Committee have requested that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) suspend the increase until a thorough review can be done.  According to Tricia Modifica, a spokesman for Eversource, “The biggest factor is the state energy policy that was passed by the state legislature in 2017 that requires Eversource and United Illuminating to purchase power from Millstone Nuclear Power Plant

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Bob Guzzo Talks Quotas, Offshore Wind and Fishing out of Stonington

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STONINGTON — Bob Guzzo lost the steering in his conch boat on Monday, but somehow navigated back to the town dock.  “The steering stiffened right up and I thought something was in the rudder. We tried it this morning, we thought it was a pump, but it doesn’t seem to be, it seems to be working fine,” he said Tuesday morning, seated on the edge of the vessel. “I’m going to try to get a diver down there to make sure that something isn’t loose and got stuck.”  Guzzo, 63, has two boats — this one, named Hostile Waters that

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Eversource Reports Just Half the Usual Service Shutoffs for May — Moratorium to End on July 1

In May, just 68 businesses in the 149 towns across Connecticut that Eversource services disconnected their electric compared to 118 in 2019. Although it may seem counterintuitive, as many businesses are struggling to stay afloat throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Eversource has suspended all involuntary customer disconnections due to missed payments since mid-March. “We’ve waived all late payment charges and began offering a special, flexible payment plan for any past due bills,” said Frank Poirot Jr., a spokesperson for Eversource. “We’ve also set up a special resource page on our website as well as an 800 number for business customers to

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Back to Square One as Region Towns Reject $333 Million Renovation of MIRA Trash Incinerator

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On May 31, the Materials Innovation Recycling Authority (MIRA) will go back to drawing board to find an alternative to either trucking thousands of tons of garbage out of state annually or spending $333 million to renovate an out-of-date trash incinerator in Hartford. With an early end to the legislative session and the 51-member towns spread across the Lower Connecticut River Valley unwilling to foot the bill for the renovations, MIRA has no choice but to leave behind their agreement with Sacyr Rooney Recovery Team. “We had anticipated the answer we got from the towns and it helped clarify the

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Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education Approves Sustainability Committee For Local Schools

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LYME/OLDLYME — After two years of attending meetings, Karen Taylor’s call for a focus on environmental protection has been heard, and a Sustainability Committee was approved by the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education. “It feels so good, I truly feel listened to and heard,” said Taylor who has two children in the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools and works as a substitute teacher. “I really think this committee will allow us to coordinate efforts and make progress toward recycling and reducing waste in the schools.” The committee will advise the Board of Education and include 15 members drawn from teachers, Board of

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Vineyard Wind Biologist Talks Common Ground with Fishing Industry

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NEW BEDFORD — With about 20 years of experience on the seas, Crista Bank has worked in academia as a fisheries biologist, conducted research with commercial fishermen, earned her 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license, journeyed across the globe aboard traditional sailing vessels and taught marine science in New England, Southern California and the Florida Keys. In May 2018, she became a fisheries liaison for Vineyard Wind, an offshore wind developer based in New Bedford where she grew up and now lives. The company has two projects in the works — Vineyard Wind I, a 800-megawatt project off the coast

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Groton Startup ThayerMahan Grows to Capture Offshore Wind and Electric Boat Opportunities

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GROTON — Years before the Connecticut Port Authority approved a $157 million deal to redevelop State Pier in New London as a staging area for offshore wind, and before a $22 billion submarine contract was awarded to Groton-based Electric Boat, a growing ecosystem of smaller companies have been setting up shop in the region, hoping to service the wind and maritime industries. “We’re a bunch of guys who started a company based on maritime [technology and data]. Many of us are former submariners and we sought to do things with autonomous vehicles that we used to do with submarines with

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Connecticut Port Authority Approves Revised Wind Energy Plan for State Pier in New London

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HARTFORD — The Connecticut Port Authority unanimously approved a $157 million plan to reconfigure State Pier for use by offshore wind companies following discussions during two closed executive sessions at a special meeting Tuesday morning. David Kooris, chair of the authority, said the plan was “fundamentally different” from the $93 million memorandum of understanding announced by the State of Connecticut, Gateway Terminal, Ørsted and Eversource on May 2, 2019. Like the original project, the new facility will have heavy-lift capacity needed for offshore wind components, but will also include three berths designed not to conflict with Cross Sound Ferry’s routes

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Letter: Compare New and Old Plans Before Approving Wind Deal for State Pier

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I enjoyed reading Cate Hewitt’s Feb. 8 interview with Alexandra Halvordson, “Halvordson Weighs in on Addition of Offshore Wind to Region’s Submarine Supply Chain,” and appreciate CT Examiner’s continued coverage of State Pier and the Thames River.  Having known Ali since elementary school, I respect how smart and hardworking she is. I am writing to publicly challenge something she said: “You have offshore wind coming, you have two ports in Connecticut that are going to be maxed out with wind, that’s great, how is that not good stuff?” Maxing out State Pier with wind may be good stuff for the Naval and Maritime

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Halvordson Weighs in on Addition of Offshore Wind to Region’s Submarine Supply Chain

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GROTON — Opportunities for Connecticut-based companies in the supply chain that services the undersea and maritime industries are increasing now that offshore wind has entered the market, according to Ali Halvordson executive director of the Naval and Maritime Consortium. “The offshore wind supply chain is very immature in this country. It’s growing and we want to attract it as much [and] as early as possible from Europe,” said Halvordson in her office at UConn Avery Point on Feb. 4. The consortium, formed in 2017, was originally known as the Connecticut Undersea Supply Chain Consortium and focused on the submarine industry,

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New London Makes Sense of Connecticut’s Selection of a Bridgeport-based Wind Deal

As New London leaders absorbed news on Thursday of Ørsted and Eversource’s failed bid to secure a large slice of Gov. Lamont’s envisioned 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power, the future and implications for proposed investments in the State Pier were still unclear. But by Friday morning, David Kooris, acting chair of the Connecticut Port Authority, said that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s choice of Vineyard Wind — rather than Ørsted/Eversource — for 804 megawatts of offshore wind power, would not cancel out the intended investment of $57.5 million into the infrastructure of State Pier. “Despite some of

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Matthews, Former Connecticut Port Authority Head Defends Record, Will Testify

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MYSTIC — Evan Matthews, former executive director of the Connecticut Port Authority, sat down with CT Examiner’s Cate Hewitt and Gregory Stroud on Sunday for a nearly four hour conversation ranging from details concerning the port authority during his tenure, his health, the wind deal at State Pier, to his hopes of clearing his name so that he can continue his maritime career.  The interview was the first time Matthews has spoken publicly since the port authority placed him on administrative leave on July 12 and subsequently forced him to resign on September 30. Matthews did not attend the Transportation

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State Pier Operator Boosts Connecticut Port Authority Plans for New London

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NEW HAVEN — “Fifteen years ago, the largest steel coil that was being brought off a ship was probably 15 tons. Today, you’re bringing in 30- to 35-ton coils of steel. The same thing with the heavy lifts, the cranes on the ships have gotten larger and larger, so port facilities have had to change to be able to handle those,” explained Gateway Terminal President James Dillman, an industry veteran and new hire by the New-Haven-based terminal operator. “It’s the same way with the container industry. Today the ships that are calling at container ports are almost three times as

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45-Day Window for Connecticut Port Authority Hearings

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It’s remarkable that former board chairs Scott Bates and Bonnie Reemsnyder have so far not answered a single substantive question from either the press or state legislators about their leadership roles in either the pending wind energy deal with Eversource and Ørsted, or in the near dissolution of the Connecticut Port Authority. The same can be said for Executive Director Evan Matthews, who for all we know may still be be drawing a salary from the state of Connecticut. In that regard, I’d like to join State Sen. Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and State Rep. Christine Conley (D-Groton) in calling for

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David Kooris Makes the Case for a “Niche Market” Wind Energy Deal for New London

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David Kooris walked into Muddy Waters Café on Bank Street in New London like a regular – a measure perhaps of the time he has spent as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) acting as an ambassador, a fixer of sorts, for the Lamont administration on a joint wind energy deal based out of New London which for the last months has threatened to unravel.  The deal pairs a wind developer Ørsted, an energy supplier Eversource, a port operator Gateway New London LLC, and the quasi-public Connecticut Port Authority, in a near-term investment of about

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Public Turns Out in Support of Bay State Wind’s Energy Plans for New London’s State Pier

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NEW LONDON — At the Connecticut Port Authority’s informational meeting Tuesday night, community sentiment tilted heavily in favor of accepting a deal to build a joint Ørsted-Eversource wind power facility at State Pier in New London before that opportunity dissolves or finds a home elsewhere.  David Kooris, acting chair of the port authority, gave an upbeat presentation to standing-room-only audience of about 200 people on the proposed upgrade of the pier’s infrastructure and managed to pivot attention away from questions concerning the port authority’s personnel and finances — as well as documentation requests — that have yet to be clarified. 

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Letter: Wind Energy News is Lipstick on a Pig

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To the Editor: RE “Ørsted and Eversource Pitch “Non-zero-sum Game” for Agreement with Port Authority” (Sept. 12, 2019): This is quite simply just a politically driven charade the cost of which, assuming it ever gets permitted, will all fall on the backs of the ratepayers. Just ask the Danes who now pay the highest electric rates in Europe even with their wind farms being able to depend on cheap hydro from Norway and Sweden for backup power, or the Germans who have had to import more coal to keep their baseload plants going which has actually INCREASED carbon emissions. Where

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Ørsted and Eversource Pitch “Non-zero-sum Game” for Agreement with Port Authority

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It’s no wonder that Connecticut has a case of the flutters — with so much unknown to the public, and the Connecticut Port Authority and port operator Gateway New London LLC on the verge of signing a long-term lease and partnership agreement with Eversource and Ørsted that could reshape the economic future of New London, as well as energy production and prices for Connecticut. As Matthew Morrissey, Vice President and Head of New England Markets for Ørsted explained it, more than once, “it’s really not a zero-sum game.” At least as we understood his thinking, that was a way of

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