CPES Policy Committee Update: August 23, 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:

  • MA Supreme Court Strikes Down DPU Order on Authority
  • Op-Ed Block Island Wind Farms


Regional & Industry Developments

MA Supreme Court Pushes Back on DPU Authority

On August 17, 2016, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down an order issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities last October which found that the Department has pre-existing authority to review and approve contracts for natural gas pipeline capacity filed by electric distribution companies.  The Court ruled that the Department erred in interpreting Massachusetts law as authorizing it to review and approve ratepayer-backed, long-term contracts by electric distribution companies for natural gas capacity. The Court concluded that the order is invalid “because, among other things, it would undermine the main objectives of the [Restructuring Act of 1997] and re-expose ratepayers to the types of financial risks from which the Legislature sought to protect them.”

The Court’s decision is available at: http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/sjc/reporter-of-decisions/new-opinions/12051.pdf


(CT/RI) Op-Ed: Block Island Wind Farm: Windfall for the politically connected

Under the deal engineered by Carcieri, Rhode Island’s regulated utility, National Grid, will be required to pay 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour for the windmill power — more than twice current market rates.

Sweetening the deal even more, there are price escalators of 3.5 percent a year, so that by the end of the 20-year contract period, National Grid will be paying 50 cents per kilowatt hour from the wind farm.