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Feds issue alert on CT natural gas supply, prices
Hartford Business Journal
The extended cold weather forced the U.S. Energy Information Administration to issue an alert on the supply constraints and expected skyrocketing prices of natural gas in Connecticut and all of the Northeast. Because of the extended cold weather, natural gas demand rose 8 percent in New England and 2 percent in New York. Because the pipelines feeding natural gas into the region from the west and the south have been constrained, EIA says Connecticut and its surrounding states should expect nearly a tripling in prices.
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CEMA NEWS


Connecticut hours of service waiver
CEMA
Recently, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles approved CEMA's request for an hours of service waiver. The waiver began at 5 p.m. Jan. 2 and runs through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 9.
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CEMA: Take steps to stay safe, avoid frozen pipes with arctic temps
West Hartford News
Homeowners need to clear snow from the exhaust vents of their heating systems. Vents are located on the side of homes and can easily become blocked by high snowdrifts. When vents become blocked, they result in heating system malfunctions and carbon monoxide gas getting into the home, creating an extreme safety hazard. Make sure exhaust vents are clear of all obstructions.
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Connecticut minimum wage increase Jan. 1
CEMA
On Jan. 1, the state's minimum wage increased for the first time since 2010 to $8.70, from the current minimum of $8.25 per hour. The minimum wage will increase again to $9 on Jan. 1, 2015. To view the CT Dept. of Labor announcement on this increase click here.
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INDUSTRY NEWS


Police, truck drivers respond to new 'ice-missile' law
WTIC-TV
Trucking companies are taking action to follow the new "ice missile" law that takes effect — that lawmakers hope will save lives. Before, regular drivers had to clear snow and ice off their cars by law, but commercial trucks were in the clear. However, now that's all changed and it's forcing trucking companies to adapt. Gene Beeman showed off his new "missile defense system" No, he doesn't work for the military. Beeman works at William B. Meyer transport in Stratford. "We've got to clean the trucks out," he said.
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New England and New York have largest natural gas price increases in 2013
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Average wholesale (spot) prices for natural gas increased significantly throughout the United States in 2013 compared to 2012. The average wholesale price for natural gas at Henry Hub in Erath, La., the key benchmark location for pricing throughout the United States, rose 35 percent to $3.73 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2013. Increased winter demand pushed inventories down and prices up to above $4/MMBtu in March and April, but decreased consumption for electric generation over the summer and positive (but flattening) production growth kept 2013 prices at their lowest level since 2002 with the exception of 2012.
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Natural gas no longer New England's top power fuel
Hartford Business Journal
Nuclear energy was New England's electricity fuel of choice, as the extended cold weather forced natural gas power plants to decrease their output. Recently, nuclear reactors accounted for 29 percent of the electricity generated in New England, compared to 27 percent for natural gas power plants, which typically accounts for more than half of the region's power generation in warmer months.
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Hedge funds' natural gas bets jump as thermometer drops
Bloomberg Personal Finance
Hedge funds got more bullish on natural gas, betting the most on rising prices in 11 weeks as cold weather in the U.S. diminished fuel inventories. Money managers boosted net-long positions by 44 percent in the seven days ended Dec. 10, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. The total was the most since Sept. 24. Bullish wagers increased for a third week.
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Connecticut gas plan is corporate welfare
American Energy Coalition
The initiative attempts to advantage natural gas utilities by expanding gas pipelines in the state by approximately 900 miles and converting approximately 280,000 Oil-heat customers to natural gas. The plan rejected by the state legislature called for taxpayer funding and tax incentives to support some of the cost of the pipeline expansions and conversions; while the latest iteration calls for ratepayers and new gas customers to support the cost. The state's three utilities do not want to pay the cost using their own or investor resources.
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Upgrade pipelines before building new ones
The Courant
The problem with rising costs of electricity production is that natural gas is not a reliable fuel source in cold weather. When temperatures reach certain degrees of coldness, natural gas contracts, resulting in a failure of the pipeline to deliver sufficient quantities of gas under pressure. Power generators must rely on a secondary fuel source, diesel fuel, which is a reliable and economical choice given natural gas price spikes.
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Natural gas pipeline wins PSB approval
Burlington Free Press
Vermont Gas has received approval from the Vermont Public Service Board for the first phase of its gas pipeline expansion into Addison County, President and Chief Executive Officer Don Gilbert said. "We think it's great for the state," Gilbert said. "Certainly Vermont Gas is pleased, but the real important thing here is it's going to allow us to extend the same economic and environmental benefits Vermonters in Chittenden and Franklin counties have enjoyed for 50 years to residents of Addison County."
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Connecticut Democrats return questioned $10,000 contribution
The CT Mirror
The Connecticut Democratic Party is returning a $10,000 contribution from Edward Snider, the chief executive officer of Comcast-Spectacor, whose subsidiaries include Global Spectrum, a company that won a contract earlier this year to manage the state-owned XL Center and Rentschler Field. The decision comes a day after Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, a candidate for governor, said Global Spectrum's relationship to Comcast-Spectacor meant that Snider fell under a prohibition on state contractors making political contributions to state accounts held by a political party.
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GOP senator wants hearing on Access Health CT problems
The CT Mirror
The top Republican on the legislature's insurance committee wants the head of Connecticut's health exchange to answer more questions — publicly — about problems with the system. And Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, also wants lawmakers to conduct a public hearing to allow consumers to vent their frustrations with Connecticut's efforts to implement the federal Affordable Care Act.
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Electricity prices to jump throughout region due to natural gas concerns
The Courant
Electric generation rates throughout New England are facing steep increases in 2014, pushing power costs in Connecticut close to 20 percent higher for some residents. The jump in standard service rates in Connecticut, however, is smaller than increases in other New England states. In Massachusetts, rates will increase by as much as 38 percent. In Rhode Island, the electric costs are set to increase by 27 percent.
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CEMA Pipeline
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Brent Mangum, Content Editor, 469.420.2602  
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