Peter Boucher chairs our Regulatory & Administrative and Government Affairs Practice Groups. Since becoming a member of Halloran & Sage in 1991, Peter has represented large commercial entities, municipalities and trade associations on a broad array of business law issues, including contract negotiation and interpretation, corporate governance, commercial litigation, environmental compliance, regulatory matters, and legislative relations. Peter has appeared on behalf of clients before the legislature, courts and executive branch agencies (including the Department of Public Utility Control and the Connecticut Siting Council), on a wide variety of legal matters and lobbying assignments.
Over the last several legislative sessions, Peter has represented interests which helped to shape the provisions of Public Act 98-28, a law which dramatically restructured the electric industry in Connecticut. He has presented comments on restructuring policy to the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and to a number of other organizations.
Peter's regulatory practice is built upon his prior state government career, which included twelve years of service as Commissioner (and four as Chairman) at the State of Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control. In addition, Peter has the following experience: Council Member, Connecticut Siting Council, 1987-1991; First Vice President, 1990-1991, Chairman, Executive Committee 1990-1991, Chairman, Subcommittee on Gas Integrated Resource Planning, 1989-1991, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC); Member, Board of Directors, National Regulatory Research Institute, 1989-1991; Co-Chairman, Power Planning Committee, New England Governors Conference, Inc., 1990; President, New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners, 1988-1989.
Electric Industry Restructuring in Connecticut - Round Two
Hartford Business Journal, 01/26/2004
With a historic piece of legislation, the Connecticut legislature in 1998 ended the electric utilities' monopoly over both the generation and distribution of electricity. Public Act 98-28 effectively required Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and United Illuminating (UI) to divest their generating facilities and to set up rules to permit the new owners of those facilities to access the utilities' retained transmission and distribution networks. The premise of that legislation was that the new owners of the generating facilities would operate in this newly competitive electricity market in a more efficient manner, and that consumers would benefit from the expected lower prices for electricity.
In order to permit a smooth transition of the generation sector from a regulated monopoly to a competitive market, P.A. 98-28 established four-year Standard Offers for CL&P and UI customers. The Standard Offers were the default arrangement that consumers were placed in if they did not select a competitive supplier. Under the Standard Offers, retail electric rates were capped at 10 percent below the retail rates in effect on Dec. 31, 1996. The Standard Offers would expire on Jan. 1, 2004. The intent was that during the period from the passage of P.A. 98-28 to that date, retail electric competition would develop, thus eliminating the need for the Standard Offers' rate cap after 2003. Another key provision of P.A. 98-28 was the requirement that competitive suppliers include certain renewable energy sources in their supply portfolios. These Portfolio Standards were first imposed on July 1, 2001 and escalated annually after that date. These provisions were intended to create demand for electricity generated by renewable resources, thereby encouraging further development and construction of facilities utilizing renewable resources as fuel.
However, the cost of producing electricity in the newly competitive electricity market was often higher than the electricity cost built into the Standard Offers over the past four years, primarily because of the 10 percent rate cut. For that reason, very few consumers signed up with competitive suppliers, and few competitive suppliers entered Connecticut's competitive retail electricity market. The expiration of the Standard Offers on Jan. 1, 2004 loomed as a potentially damaging rate shock event in that marketplace. In order to address this potential crisis before it unfolded, the legislature acted in 2003 to amend the 1998 legislation in several important regards. The impetus for this measure - P.A. 03-135 - was the recognition by the legislature that retail electric competition had not developed to the extent envisioned at the time of the passage of P.A. 98-28, and that adjustments to the electric restructuring law were therefore needed.
Because the overwhelming majority of Connecticut's retail electric customers continued to purchase electricity under the Standard Offers (and because the Standard Offers were exempt from the Portfolio Standards), there has been little demand in Connecticut for electricity provided by competitive suppliers, and thus little demand for renewable energy.
P.A. 03-135 instituted a three-year Transitional Standard Offers (TSO) for CL&P and UI customers beginning Jan. 1, 2004 and ending on Dec. 31, 2006. Under the Transitional Standard Offers, retail electric rates would be permitted to rise to the level in effect on Dec. 31, 1996, in effect allowing an approximate 10 percent rise in those rates. Also, P.A. 03-135 made significant adjustments to the Portfolio Standards, most importantly, by requiring that CL&P's and UI's TSO service to comply with the Portfolio Standards. The combined effect of these significant changes will hopefully be: (1) an increased ability of competitive suppliers to profitably supply the Connecticut retail electric market at prices that beat the TSO pricing; and (2) a significant increase in the demand for electricity derived from renewable energy sources, leading to increased development of energy facilities utilizing such sources as fuel.
Stay tuned. It remains to be seen whether this second effort by the legislature will produce the desired consumer savings.
Peter Boucher and Gary A. Hale are senior lobbyists with Halloran & Sage Government Affairs, with offices in Hartford, Middletown, and Westport and Washington, D.C. Mr. Hale can be reached at (860) 297-4690 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Attorney Boucher can be reached at (860) 297-4690 or email@example.com.
(C) The Hartford Business Journal 2004. Reprinted with permission.
News & Events
12th Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition
Halloran & Sage sponsored the 12th Annual New England Energy Conference and Exposition presented by the CT Power and Energy and Commerce Association and the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association.
As the current premiere energy conference in the Northeast, it was designed to appeal to a broad-ranging audience including: load aggregators and end-users; equipment suppliers and technology companies; finance and legal experts; risk managers; environmental, engineering and project professionals; commodity traders and wholesalers; generation and transmission companies; project developers and operators; utility representatives; government officials and industry regulators. All stake-holders in the evolving competitive energy marketplace were invited to participate.North American Energy: A Changing Landscape
Halloran & Sage was proud to be a sponsor of the New England-Canada Business Council's Twelfth Annual U.S.-Canada Energy Trade and Technology Conference titled North American Energy: A Changing Landscape.
This annual meeting brought together leading industry and government officials to discuss key trends shaping Canadian and U.S. energy markets, with a focus on the Northeast. The Conference provided insight on such issues as:
What is the outlook for new energy supply development in North America?
Will the challenge for oil and natural gas markets lead to a renewed appreciation for such supply options as LNG, nuclear and renewables?
How do we resolve the conflict between the need for energy infrastructure and the difficulties of siting new facilities of almost any kind?
How do we balance the competing interests of reliability of service, diversity of supplies, investment considerations, and competitive markets?
For more information, please contact Energy & Regulatory Law partner, Peter Boucher, or visit www.necbc.org.ALERT: Connecticut Legislation On Renewable Energy Resources
Connecticut Legislation On Renewable Energy Resources
Public Act 03-135, which amends Connecticut's Electric Restructuring Law, may result in significant benefits to owners of certain facilities that generate electricity from renewable energy sources.
By way of background, Connecticut's Electric Restructuring Law (enacted in 1998 as P.A. 98-28) designated certain generators of electricity utilizing renewable energy sources as Class I and Class II energy sources.1 P.A. 98-28 required competitive suppliers of retail electricity to include certain percentages of Class I and Class II energy in their electric supply portfolios. These Portfolio Standards were first imposed on July 1, 2001 and escalated annually after that date. These provisions were intended to create demand for electricity generated by Class I and Class II energy sources, thereby encouraging further development and construction of facilities utilizing such energy sources. However, because the overwhelming majority of Connecticut's end-user electric customers have continued to purchase electricity under so-called Standard Offers (and because the Standard Offers are exempt from the Portfolio Standards), to date there has been little demand in Connecticut for electricity from Class I and Class II energy sources. Thus, further development of such sources of electricity has not been encouraged to any significant extent to date as a result of P.A. 98-28. This state of affairs is about to change.
P.A. 03-135 made three significant changes to the Portfolio Standards requirements. First,
energy derived from . . . ocean thermal power, wave or tidal power, low-emission advanced renewable energy conversion technologies, [and] a run-of-the-river hydropower facility provided such facility has a generating capacity of not more than five megawatts, does not cause an appreciable change in the river flow, and began operation after the effective date of this section. . .
are now included in the category of Class I renewable energy sources.2 Second, the Portfolio Standards have been amended to require, on and after July 1, 2004, a relatively greater percentage of Class I energy sources (as compared to Class II energy sources) in electric supply portfolios. Third (and perhaps most significantly), electric utilities supplying Standard Offer service will be required, as of January 1, 2004, to comply with the Portfolio Standards. The combined effect of these changes will likely be a significant increase in the value of electricity derived from Class I energy sources.
This Alert is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This publication may be considered advertising under applicable state laws. 2003 Halloran & Sage.
1 Class I renewable energy sources included solar power, wind power, a fuel cell, methane gas from landfills, or a biomass facility. . . . Class II renewable energy sources included energy from a trash-to-energy facility, or a biomass facility that does not meet the criteria for a class I renewable energy source or a hydropower facility. . . . Conn. Gen. Stat 16-1(a)(26) and (27).
2 The effective date of this section of P.A. 03-135 was July 1, 2003.