Northeast Utilities

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Northeast Utilities
Type Public
Traded as NYSENU
S&P 500 Component
Industry utilities
Founded 1966
Headquarters Hartford, Connecticut, and Boston, Massachusetts, USA[1][2]
Area served Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
Key people NU is governed by an 14-member Board of Trustees. Sanford Cloud, Jr., Lead Trustee[3][4][5]
Products transmission, distribution and generation
Website nu.com
cl-p.com
nstar.com
wmeco.com
psnh.com
yankeegas.com

Northeast Utilities is a publicly traded, Fortune 500 energy company headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut,[1] and Boston, Massachusetts,[6] with several regulated subsidiaries offering retail electricity and natural gas service to more than 3.6 million[7] customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Following its 2012 merger with Boston-based NSTAR, NU has more than 4,270 circuit miles of electric transmission lines, 72,000 pole miles of distribution lines, and 6,459 miles of natural gas pipeline in New England.[8]

History[edit]

NU was formed on July 1, 1966, with the merger of Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P),[9] Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO),[10] and the Hartford Electric Light Company[11] under a single parent company, creating the first new multi-state public utility holding company since the enactment of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. In 1967, Holyoke Water Power Company (HWP)[12] joined the NU System, followed by the Public Service Company of New Hampshire[13] (PSNH) in 1992.[14]

In 1999 Con Edison and Northeast Utilities entered merger negotiations and the companies began preparations to merge, but the deal fell apart in 2001 when Con Edison backed away from the merger after Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal threatened lawsuits to block it. The deal would have created one of the largest utilities in the United States.[15]

Legislation passed in the late '90s deregulated the electricity market in New England and required regulated utilities to divest generating stations to competitive suppliers. In 1999 the company divested all of the generating assets of WMECO and CL&P per requirements of the Massachusetts and Connecticut legislation. The company retained some of these assets by transferring them to a new subsidiary called Northeast Generation which functioned as a competitive supplier and sold the other assets entirely: WMECO's West Springfield Generating Station and several related hydroelectric and fossil fuel generating units were sold to Con Edison, while other assets most notably the Northfield Mountain hydroelectric facility were transferred to Northeast Generation. In 2001, NU sold all of Holyoke Water Power Company's electrical distribution and hydroelectric generation assets to the City of Holyoke. The city's municipal gas electric department assumed responsibility for the generators and absorbed the HWP distribution customer base.[16] NU retained the single remaining asset of HWP, the Mt. Tom coal-fired generator. Between 2000 and 2002 due to state laws, NU divested WMECO, CL&P, and PSNH's nuclear generating assets including Seabrook and Millstone stations as well as its stake in Vermont Yankee. In 2006, NU decided to sell the generating units it had earlier retained in the 1999 divestiture as competitive suppliers and shutdown its competitive generation business units. The Northeast Generation assets and the HWP Mt. Tom Station were all sold to FirstLight energy.[17] Currently, PSNH continues to operate regulated hydroelectric and fossil fuel generation assets to serve its default/basic service customers that do not choose a competitive supplier as the state of New Hampshire has not yet required PSNH to divest its generation assets.[18]

In October 2010, Northeast Utilities announced that it would merge with NSTAR, with the resulting company retaining the Northeast Utilities name.[19] After government approvals, the deal closed in April, 2012.[20]

Corporate structure[edit]

Northeast Utilities has six main subsidiaries. These are CL&P, PSNH, WMECO, Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas), NSTAR Electric and NSTAR Gas.[21]

CL&P is Connecticut's largest electric utility, serving more than 1.1 million customers. This subsidiary serves residential, municipal, commercial and industrial customers in approximately 149 cities and towns.

PSNH is New Hampshire's largest electric utility, serving more than 475,000 homes and businesses throughout the state. This subsidiary owns three fossil fuel-fired generating plants and nine hydroelectric facilities, jointly capable of generating more than 1,110 megawatts of electricity.

WMECO is a main distributor of electricity in western Massachusetts, serving more than 200,000 customers.

Yankee Gas is Connecticut's largest natural gas distribution company, delivering natural gas to approximately 200,000 customers in approximately 71 cities and towns. This subsidiary delivers natural gas to thousands of Connecticut homes for heating, hot water, cooking (indoors and outdoors), fireplaces and outdoor lighting.

In November 2005, the company announced it would sell its unregulated competitive businesses, including generation and energy services. In November 2006 the company had essentially completed the divestiture of its competitive businesses.[22]

Political connections[edit]

As a large utility company, Northeast Utilities, Connecticut Light and Power, and its other subsidiaries are regulated by state and federal legislators. The company has been generous with election campaign contributions to several Connecticut politicians. Among organizations, Northeast Utilities was the third biggest contributor to Representative Christopher Murphy (CT-5),[23] the fourth biggest contributor to Representative Joe Courtney (CT-2),[24] and the sixth biggest contributor to Representative John Larson (CT-1),[25] during the July 2009 to June 2011 period. During the longer four-year period from July 2007 to June 2011, Northeast Utilities and it executives donated $56,900 to Rep. Christopher Murphy,[26] $38,100 to Rep. Joe Courtney,[27] $30,000 to Rep. John Larson,[28] $11,800 to Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4),[29] and $6,000 to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3).[30]

HVDC transmission[edit]

Northeast Utilities has signed on a joint venture with Hydro-Québec and NSTAR to build a new High-voltage direct current (HVDC) line from Windsor, Quebec (connecting with the Quebec grid) to a location in Franklin, New Hampshire. It is projected that the line will either run in an existing right-of-way adjacent to the HVDC line that runs through New Hampshire, or it will connect to a right-of-way in northern New Hampshire that will run through the White Mountains. This 180- to 190-mile line, projected to carry 1,200 megawatts, will carry electricity to approximately one million homes.[31] The issue of buying hydropower from Hydro-Québec had been an issue during the Massachusetts gubernatorial election of 2010.[32]

Major projects[edit]

Northeast Utilities has participated in a number of projects to improve the reliability of the power grid in southwest Connecticut. The first project was construction of the $350 million 345 kilovolt Bethel-Norwalk transmission line through the western part of the state, and was constructed entirely by Northeast Utilities.

With United Illuminating, an upgrade to the 69-mile (112 km), 345 kilovolt Middletown-Norwalk transmission line was energized in 2009 at a cost of $900 million.

In 2013, the Greater Springfield Reliability Project, a component of the ongoing New England East-West Solution, was energized at a cost of $795 million. The project addressed numerous reliability issues with the Springfield, MA area's 115 kv transmission system by constructing two new 345 kv lines to the Agawam substation; one line north to Ludlow and the other south to North Bloomfield, Connecticut. The new 345 kv corridor added a new strong interface between Massachusetts and Connecticut. The project also involved rebuilding all of the 115 kv lines along the transmission corridor between South Agawam and Ludlow to increase their capacities, building a new 115 kv transmission substation in East Springfield (Cadwell), replacing the Fairmont 115 kv transmission substation in Chicopee with a new substation across the street, and configuring a new 115 kv line from South Agawam to Southwick using a combination of both new and old line segments of the former 115 kv path between Agawam and North Bloomfield. The new Cadwell and Fairmont switching stations allowed a number of three-terminal 115 kv lines to be broken up into two-terminal lines. Finally, the project allowed a problematic underground 115 kv transmission path through the city of Springfield that was vulnerable to thermal overloads to be removed from service by breaking it in half at the middle. The underground lines now function solely to supply the distribution load served out of the Breckwood substation in Springfield. A previously proposed costly project that would have replaced the underground cables is no longer necessary. On November 20, 2013, cutover of 115kv lines to the new Fairmont Switching Station was complete marking substantial completion of the GSRP.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Directions to Northeast Utilities Offices". Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  2. ^ http://www.nu.com/business/directions/default.asp
  3. ^ Northeast Utilities Corporate Governance
  4. ^ http://www.nstar.com/ss3/nstar_news/press_releases/2012/merger-close.pdf
  5. ^ https://www.nu.com/investors/corporate_gov/Board_Trustee_Info.asp
  6. ^ http://www.nu.com/business/directions/default.asp
  7. ^ http://www.nu.com/aboutnu/default.asp
  8. ^ http://www.nu.com/aboutNU/NUFacts.asp
  9. ^ http://www.cl-p.com
  10. ^ http://www.wmeco.com/
  11. ^ http://www.nu.com/aboutnu/helco.asp
  12. ^ http://www.nu.com/aboutnu/hwpco.asp
  13. ^ https://www.psnh.com/
  14. ^ Northeast Utilities (2001). "Celebrating our 35th Anniversary: Diversity Fuels our Success". pp. 2–3. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  15. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/06/nyregion/northeast-says-merger-with-con-edison-has-collapsed.html
  16. ^ http://www.hged.com/html/our_history.html
  17. ^ http://www.nu.com/aboutnu/history.asp
  18. ^ https://www.psnh.com/PlantsTerritory/Power-Plants.aspx
  19. ^ Ailworth, Erin (2010-10-18). "NStar and Northeast Utilities agree to merger". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  20. ^ "NU Closes NSTAR Merger Deal". 2012-04-011. Retrieved 2013-05-16.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. ^ http://www.nu.com/aboutNU/NUFacts.asp
  22. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/northeast-utilities-completes-sale-of-competitive-generation-business-to-energy-capital-partners-55838902.html
  23. ^ "MapLight - U.S. Congress - Chris Murphy". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  24. ^ "MapLight - U.S. Congress - Joe Courtney". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  25. ^ "MapLight - U.S. Congress - John Larson". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  26. ^ "MapLight". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  27. ^ "MapLight". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  28. ^ "MapLight". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  29. ^ "MapLight". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  30. ^ "MapLight". maplight.org. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  31. ^ Porter, Louis (19 December 2008). "Utilities plan for N.E. expansion". Rutland Herald. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  32. ^ Daley, Beth (2010-10-23). "Canadian firm offers N.E. more hydropower". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 

See also[edit]

1. Kobak, Steve. "46 years after breaking color barrier, NU's first black lineman retires." The Norwalk Hour. Published 5/9/2009. http://www.thehour.com/story/469152/