Friday, April 16, 2010

Energy Monsters Looking To Quash Deregulation

Many small energy companies are up in arms this week and are circulating petitions and letters aimed at voters to take a stand. The stand they want you to take is to call your local representative and tell them that you support lower electric rates, competition within the current grid, and the many small companies that are now competing with the big energy giants.

One such company circulating this letter is Energy Plus Holdings LLC and it alleges that consumers will "lose the ability to save money and receive other innovative benefits such as valuable rewards offered by Energy Plus. We urge you to contact your State Senator or Representative to let them know you want to keep retail electric competition in Connecticut - and that you want to continue to have the opportunity to earn rewards and save money on your electric bill."

Connecticut deregulation came about after consumers complained that they were paying among the highest rates in the entire continental U.S. Unfortunately, UI even amid deregulation managed to nearly double its rates in just over a decade.

Having heard several conference calls from UIL Holdings, the energy company in New Haven and Milford who reports quarterly to their investors; the common theme by its CEO Thorgenson is "profits are up nicely." The DPUC regulates this kind of rate activity of our local energy giant and about a year ago UIL drew much public criticism by Mayor Stefano when they decided to abandon New Haven to build a multi-million dollar "over the top" world class HQ in Orange at the old Movie theater site and at the expense of increased billing rates.

Mayor Stefano citicized UI, pointing to the site it abandoned in New Haven as a "Toxic dump" citing "UI still has not acted responsibly in cleaning up their mess." UI is also currently working with ENRG Inc. in Milford to complete a peaking generation plant.

According to representatives I spoke with last year at the "Devon Day Fair," the question was asked by Dick Sieron an Electrical engineer who worked for the power companies "how is this project funded?" The representative there indicated that "although this plant will not operate for many months out of the year, ratepayers will be paying for it anyway out of their current bill."

UI and its partners continues to draw sharp criticism from the community, especially in recent months when their lack of safety precautions caused a Middletown plant to explode, killing and injuring several people.

The cause for competition in sales, distribution, and generation of electricity is very much needed amid the acrimonious and accident prone nature of the current industry. The DPUC and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was able to stop many of the abuses of the energy companies directed at the people of CT in previous years, but with his bid for Congress being a major distraction to those efforts the people of Connecticut may be in serious jeopardy of being taken advantage of by the energy giants yet again.

There is no surprise that in wake of this years U.S. Senate race the UI Gang is going "Gangbusters" trying to "Stick It" to the people of Connecticut now that they see an opportunity. It is our responsibility to "slam the door shut yet again."

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