CPES Policy Committee Update: April 15, 2016

This update features policy, regulatory, legislative, and regional developments in Connecticut and New England. The policy updates are compiled by a team recently formed with support from CPES, known as the New Energy Professionals. If you are interested in learning more about the New Energy Professionals, the Policy Committee, or if you have ideas for future policy updates, we would welcome your input and feedback. Please send comments to Paul Brady, CPES Executive Director, via email: pbrady@ctpower.org.

This week’s features:

  • Summary of CPES Natural Gas Infrastructure Event
  • PURA Ends Notice Requirements for Retail Suppliers
  • Governor’s proposed budget does not include raiding funds from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
  • Net metering bill raised in legislature
  • Nuclear Power Plant Announces Future Plans


Project Development: Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects Serving Customers in Connecticut

DSC03604On April 13, 2016, the Connecticut Power and Energy Society (CPES) heard from representatives of the natural gas industry on infrastructure projects progressing within Connecticut and throughout New England. As background, moderator Stephen Leahy, Vice President of Policy & Analysis for the Northeast Gas Association, explained that there are five interstate natural gas pipelines serving New England: (1) the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline, (2) the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, (3) the Iroquois Gas Transmission System, (4) the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, and (5) the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. There are also several liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities serving the region, including Distrigas in Everett, Massachusetts and Canaport in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Michael Dirrane, Director of Marketing for Spectra Energy, discussed the infrastructure projects in progress and proposed along the Algonquin and Maritimes transmission systems, including the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, the Atlantic Bridge project, and the Access Northeast project. According to Dirrane, the AIM project will add 20% more gas capacity to the Algonquin pipeline, enabling additional supplies of Marcellus Shale gas to reach customers in Connecticut. The project has an in-service date of November 2016.

Cynthia Armstrong, Director of Marketing & Business Development for Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS), provided background on PNGTS, which began serving New England in 1999 and now consists of more than 300 miles of pipeline. She explained that PNGTS delivers gas into the Algonquin and Tennessee pipelines, back-feeding the region’s natural gas transmission system from the east.

Rob Perless, Project Development Manager for Iroquois Gas Transmission System, provided background on the Iroquois system, which commenced operations in 1991 and was designed to bring Canadian gas down to the New York and New England markets. Perless provided an update on the Constitution Pipeline project, which has faced significant regulatory delays in the State of New York. Perless also provided an update on the project Iroquois plans to submit in response to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for natural gas expansion projects.

Gregg Therrien, Director of Gas Construction for Connecticut Natural Gas and The Southern Connecticut Gas Company, discussed expansion projects on the local gas distribution system in Connecticut. Many of these projects, he explained, were made possible by the 2013 Comprehensive Energy Strategy and legislation passed in 2014 to enable the recovery of costs associated with gas expansion projects over a 25-year period.

Christopher Lucca, Program Manager of Gas Expansion for Eversource, discussed the Wilton, Connecticut expansion project, a 3.6-mile distribution system expansion project which began on August 1, 2014 and concluded on October 24, 2014. The project involved extensive community engagement to ensure construction met the Town’s desired timeline, particularly for a local school and the downtown business district. This project would not have been possible, Lucca said, without the Comprehensive Energy Strategy and the legislation passed to implement it.


CONNECTICUT POLICY/REGULATORY UPDATE:  CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

The Connecticut PURA has formally terminated the requirement for retail suppliers to file quarterly notices with PURA. In a letter dated April 11, 2016, after receiving notices from multiple suppliers, PURA acknowledged the required information contained in the quarterly notices has since been incorporated into residential bills provided by the electric distribution companies, pursuant to PURA’s Decisions in Docket Nos. 14-07-19, PURA Investigation Into Redesign of the Residential Electric Billing Format and 14-07-19RE01, PURA Investigation Into Redesign of the Residential Electric Billing Format – Billing Format Clarifications. Consequently, PURA determined the notices are no longer required. The letter is available at the following link.



Last week, we reported that the legislature proposed raiding $20M in funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  On April 12, 2016, Governor Malloy released his budget proposal, which did not include a provision raiding the RGGI funds.  http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20160412/NEWS01/160419987/officials-raiding-carbon-funds-will-increase-power-costs

Information about the Energy and Technology Committee, including committee meetings and public hearings, is available at: https://www.cga.ct.gov/et/.

The deadline to report bills out of the Energy and Technology Committee has passed.  On April 12, 2016, the House of Representatives passed the following bill that may be of interest to you:

  • H.B. No. 5242 (RAISED) ENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY . ‘AN ACT CONCERNING AGRICULTURAL VIRTUAL NET METERING’, to allow agricultural customers to lease or enter into long-term contracts for an agricultural virtual net metering facility. 


Regional and Industry Developments

Entergy Announces Plans to Operate Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station through May 2019

Entergy Corporation, owner and operator of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, has announced plans to refuel in 2017 and continue operating the power plant until May 31, 2019. For more information, see Entergy’s official operational update: http://www.pilgrimpower.com/operational-update/.