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Environment

Future of Connecticut's Clean Energy Program Is in Question

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Connecticut has a program that allows electric customers to buy renewable energy credits. But some officials want to eliminate the program, and are getting pushback from environmentalists and the state office of Consumer Counsel.

It's called the Connecticut Clean Energy Options Program, or CCEO.

Here's how it works: customers pay a few dollars extra on their electric bill, and that money supports clean energy generation and development through the purchase of certified energy credits.

Those credits represent a specific amount of clean energy produced and delivered to the power grid.

Today, about 25,000 Connecticut customers do this, supporting energy from a mix of wind, solar, and biomass plants.

In a draft decision, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or PURA, now has said it wants to terminate the program because it has served its purpose. It says there are "an abundance" of green power options out there to pick from.

But Joseph Rosenthal, an attorney with the state office of Consumer Counsel, thinks that's a bad idea.

"We do think it ought to continue in some form," Rosenthal said. "So that customers can be assured that they can have verifiable, reasonably priced, high-quality renewable products that they can trust."

Rosenthal said CCEO energy credits are subject to oversight in ways that ones outside the program are not. And he worries that if the program goes away entirely, consumers would be left to navigate the complicated world of energy credits on their own, which could result in confusion or higher prices.

This week, the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) filed a list of objections to the PURA proposal.

OCC is expected to argue their case before the PURA board in New Britain on Monday.

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