December 22, 2016
CT Green Guide

PURA scraps ratepayer clean-energy program

Morguefile | AcrylicArtist
Morguefile | AcrylicArtist
PURA has canned a longstanding program that allowed ratepayers to pay a premium for cleaner electricity, much of it from wind turbines and other out of state generators.

Utility regulators have decided to scrap a nearly 12-year-old program that allows utility ratepayers to voluntarily pay a surcharge for greener electricity.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) decided Dec. 21 to eliminate the Connecticut Clean Energy Options program (CCEO) and to develop and implement a redesigned program next year.

CCEO was launched in 2005, providing an option for the environmentally conscious to pay a bit more (typically $3.75 to $7.50 more per month) for a mix of energy that exceeds Connecticut's existing renewable requirements, known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard, for the state's two investor-owned utilities, Eversource and Avangrid, who advocated for the the program to be discontinued.

More than 24,587 ratepayers were enrolled in the program as of September, down from approximately 27,000 in 2013, according to PURA.

"Despite the early onset of interest in the CCEO program and a slight peak in enrollments with the addition of a third [renewable energy credit] supplier in 2012, the data reflects that there has not been any significant growth in participation levels in the past several years," PURA's final decision said.

Utilities noted that a growth in other green options for ratepayers -- such as competitive retail suppliers -- obviates the need for CCEO. PURA agreed, noting that CCEO participation levels don't justify additional support or expansion of CCEO.

PURA has decided that existing CCEO suppliers can maintain and serve existing customers for nine months. The agency plans to develop and implement a redesigned program by Sept. 2017.

CCEO suppliers, who pushed to renew the program, told PURA that a fraction of RECs are sourced from green generation located in New England, which can include wind, solar and biomass.

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