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State Senator

Martin M. Looney

President Pro Tempore

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

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Contact: Adam Joseph

August 5, 2011

Bipartisan Energy Reform Offers Major Savings for New Haven Businesses

Sen. Looney: Looming 5 percent electric bill hike now prevented for all United Illuminating area customers

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven, Hamden) and Senator Toni Harp (D-New Haven, West Haven) led a press conference this afternoon at C. Cowles & Company, a New Haven manufacturer and precision metal stamping company, where they outlined multiple ways in which Connecticut businesses will save on energy costs as major energy reform legislation passed this year takes effect.

The senators were joined at the press conference by Rep. Lonnie Reed (D-Branford), Vice Chair of the General Assembly’s Energy Committee, Rep. Pat Dillon (D-New Haven), and representatives from C. Cowles & Company, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and the New Haven Manufacturers Association.

“Energy is a large expense at any business, and particularly at a manufacturer like C. Cowles & Company. We rebuilt Connecticut’s energy policy from the ground up this year, with a focus on lower costs, increased efficiency and cleaner energy. The result is some of the most forward-looking energy legislation in the country, and we can expect a near 7 percent decrease in electric rates by next year,” said Senator Looney.

“Clean, affordable energy offers enormous opportunities for business in Connecticut. For some companies, it means lower rates and assistance with managing their energy usage. For others, it means new markets in clean, alternative energy and developing technologies. For all companies, it means an improved bottom-line, and extra cash with which to invest in the business or create a new job,” said Senator Harp.

A recent pair of studies by ICF International predicts that electricity prices will rise across the United States in the coming years, as coal-fired power plants come offline and are replaced with newer facilities. They recommend conservation, energy saving and cost cutting measures to offset these price increases.

To help businesses and consumers do exactly that, sweeping energy reform was passed this year in Connecticut, on a bipartisan basis by near-unanimous votes in both houses of the General Assembly. For more information on the bill’s many provisions, click here. Specific highlights for businesses include:

  • Lower electric rates—Improved electricity contracting and procurement procedures will capture falling natural gas prices for 5-10 percent lower rates by next year
  • Support for combined heat and power (CHP) installations at manufacturers to generate electricity on-site, and recycle waste heat
  • A new green bank to leverage state and private dollars for investment in clean energy businesses, jobs and projects
  • Competitive zero-emission and low-emission electric generation programs, that foster competition amongst new technologies (solar, wind, fuel cells) without picking winners
  • A new one-stop-shop for businesses to get information on all state energy programs and reducing energy costs—it will take calls, and reach out to companies proactively

The legislation will also:

  • Consolidate multiple state entities to create the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)
  • Order a study of electric market rules and determine their effect on higher rates
  • Create an Electric Procurement Manager at DEEP to work with utilities for lower rates

In addition, as part of the recently-passed biennial state budget, a planned 5 percent electric surcharge on the bills of all United Illuminating (UI) area customers was eliminated, along with an existing surcharge for customers of Connecticut Light & Power. The UI area surcharge would have taken effect in 2013. Repeal of the surcharges will amount to hundreds of millions in savings for businesses and residences statewide.

“C. Cowles is a company in the long and great tradition of precision manufacturing in Connecticut. I am happy to have worked on legislation to help lower their energy expenses, both now and in the years to come. That’s what this bill is all about,” said Rep. Reed.

“I would like to thank Senators Looney and Harp for highlighting efforts for reducing energy costs for Connecticut Manufacturers. C. Cowles & Company spends $2,871.30 per employee on electricity for relatively light manufacturing. With Connecticut having one of the highest costs of energy for manufacturers in the continental US, continued efforts by the legislature, the DEEP and utility companies is required to reduce energy costs. In order to provide reasonably priced energy, there are some structural and infrastructure issues that need to be addressed. I hope this effort helps create a focus that will lead to lower energy costs, thereby preserving and growing jobs in Connecticut,” said Larry Moon of C. Cowles & Company.

“This legislation recognizes that the best way to attract and grow jobs in Connecticut is by creating an environment where manufacturers can thrive, prosper and control their cost of doing business. Today’s high technology manufacturing depends on reliable, high quality electricity. Connecticut’s competitiveness as a business location is greatly influenced by the affordability of all energy. To remain globally competitive Connecticut manufacturers will continue to reduce their costs and increase their markets by taking advantage of all the opportunities provided by this legislation. NHMA will continue to mutually work with the legislators to attain the goals of this legislation,” said Jerry Clupper of the New Haven Manufacturers Association.


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Adam Joseph

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Room 3300
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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