Archive for May, 2009

Con Edison Rate Increase Granted

May 27, 2009

electricity-meter_In the 17 May post the question of whether Con Edison would be granted a rate increase in light of the NYS PSC’s austerity directive was posed.

Today ratepayers have been notified that the PSC has approved an increase to Con Edison’s electric-delivery charges commencing May 1, 2009. It amounts to US$721. million annually. Con Edison estimate that for a 300 kWh bill in NYC, the increase will be $6., and for a 450 kWh bill in Westchester County, the increase will be $8.  I doubt any household not generating alternative energy can limit their summer-month kWh use to 450 kWh, readers in 1,800 square foot residences not heated with electricity may double the 450kWh and then add taxes and SBC charges to calculate their increase.

Enterprise and non-profit customers will not be spared, and they will bear the additional burden of increased demand charges.

Con Ed delivers electricity and fuel costs are not included in their regulated rate; they appear on their invoices as a pass-through. Fuel cost projections are difficult to make, but I believe they too are headed higher.

One solution to paying more in electric utility costs is increasing system efficiency. Cree, one of the large LED manufacturers, reported higher than expected revenue numbers today, citing higher than anticipated sales to lighting OEM.

Funds for Lights

May 13, 2009

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* NYSERDA have an Existing Building Program which provides rebates for pre-approved lighting energy conserving measures. To qualify, customers must pay into the System Benefits Charge, so LIPA and NYPA customers are inelligible.

NYSERDA also offer New York State customers a low-cost loan program for energy efficiency upgrades, including lighting. The program is currently closed and is slated for re-opening sometime in the Spring of 2009.

* New Jersey has a rebate program for building owners making  lighting improvements.

* National Grid enterprise customers in Massachusetts that want to upgrade their lighting are offered rebates.

* Connecticut customers of United Illuminating, a regulated utility, are offered rebates for lighting upgrades.

* The state of Maryland offers state agencies loans to implement lighting improvements.

* The Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides federal tax incentives for efficiency upgrades to lighting systems.

Photo of Manhattan by Michael Kenna

Power

May 8, 2009

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The reserve margin imbalance for electric energy supply as forecast by IPP Calpine is found below. With only one grid in supply balance, the need for added generation throughout the US is evident. With new generation projects slowing in development due to financing difficulties, the outcome is higher electric energy prices going forward. Add to the supply imbalance the projected infrastructural improvements, and their accompanying rate increase requests from the regulated utilities, and one must conclude that electric rates are going much higher almost everywhere across the continental US. *
090216 projected market equilibrium

Who will benefit? Certainly the utilities that can produce merchant power at the lowest rate. This is the nuclear utilities. Another beneficiary will be providers of electric reduction technologies and solutions, as enterprise and non-profit customers seek to lower energy bills through conservation.

The nuclear utilities have been “on the move” over the last five days. Below is the five-day chart of the common stock of Entergy, with the utility index VDE included for comparison. A similar move has taken place in the common stock price of another nuclear utility, FPL. Besides their nuclear facilities, FPL have a considerable renewable energy portfolio; they are the largest wind generation developer in the world.

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Is the stock market telling us something about the utility industry as a profit-generating sector, or is this recent development a tell on coming Cap and Trade rules and their relationship to clean power producers? Or are the increased market values of Entergy and FPL just part of the “bear market rally”?

* The imbalance for the Pacific Northwest results from its percentage of hydro generation and the variability of that energy source.