Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Answer to why the DPUC is tying the hands of UI as posted to NHI

I had the same question and I took the advice of Deep Throat – I followed the money. If you see who is make most of the money in our now deregulated energy market, it is the hedge funds based out of Greenwich that just happened to make big donations to Gov. Roland’s & Rell’s election campaigns.
The hedge funds are purchasing the electricity from the generators and reselling to UI. We know that Millstone power plant sells their electricity for around $0.07 per KwH we are paying UI $0.125 or $0.13 per KwH. UI is buying for a bit less (around 10% under what we pay) so who is making all of the money in the spread? The hedge funds, they are also the ones who managed to manipulate the way the law was written up in Hartford so that UI is unable to make long term buys – like New Haven can & did for better rates. The problem with this all is that UI just passes the high rates on to the end user – you and me. Once again who benefits from this? The hedge funds that now have a lock on the electricity generated in the State because the generators signed long term contracts with them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Text of my testimony submitted to the DPUC hearing on 10/27/08

October 27, 2008

Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control
Ten Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051

Re: 08-07-04 (BDP) UI Rate Increase-Public Comment Hearing

Dear Honorable Board of Commissioners:

I come before you this morning to express my strongly protest any increase in rates. I represent a number of interests. I am a homeowner in New Haven that heats our home with natural gas. I am representing my family business of which I am part of the 3rd generation. Lastly I come before you as a member of the New Haven Board of Aldermen where I represent the 28th Ward – Beaver Hills.

As a homeowner I know how my utility bill more then doubled in the past two years. In an effort to be more energy efficient a few years ago I had installed new windows in my home – with argon and low e, we upgraded all of our lights to CFLs and installed more energy efficient appliances when replacing them. All of this hard work has paid off, our monthly usage is less then it was in 2006. I also signed up to purchase my electricity from an alternate suppler – LEVCO. Levco and all of the other resellers raised electricity rates last year but their sales pitch was that we are still cheaper then UI. In researching the matter I found that UI can only purchase electricity a few months out at a time. Everyone else can purchase years at a time (as the City of New Haven just did to stabilize our costs). All the resellers are basing their charges on UI – if UI gets a increase you can be sure that all of the others will follow – but stay just enough under UI to stay in the game.

UI claims that they have not been able to sell as much electricity as they projected. This fact accounts for 40% of the shortfall projected by UI and is a prime driving force for the increase. If, I, as a customer and other like me are conserving electricity as promoted by DPUC and UI, they should not be penalized for doing the “right” thing. Also, future increases will result in future drops in demand, creating a feedback mechanism that ensures high prices.

As a manufacturer still based wholly in West Haven we are a substantial user of electricity. We have consultants that track the energy markets and advises us when it is advantageous lock in a contract for electricity usage. We are competing in an international business climate and on top of the fuel increases and on top of raw material increase we have to contend with some of the highest utility rates in the nation. This makes us less competitive going up against companies in other states never mind compared to overseas. One of our Stratford Connecticut bases suppliers closed their doors this past January – one of the primary reasons was the high utility rates cut their margins and they were unable to raise prices enough to survive. The company I work for is not guaranteed a profit but UI is. UI claims that it will not meet its projected profit as stipulated by the DPUC. In a time of financial hardship and economic turmoil, the DPUC should balance the need for a guaranteed profit with the decreased means of ratepayers

As an Alderman in New Haven I meet people of all walks of life – rich, poor, middle class; black, white, Hispanic. Across the city folks from all walks of life - regardless of race or economic class – people are worried about paying their utility bills.

To address another point that UI bring up. While overall demand is going down, peak demand has been going up steadily in CT. UI states that the capital costs related to upgrading its distribution network are above the DPUC projections. Urban residents such as New Haven’s residents are bearing the burden of extending and upgrading distribution networks in less dense suburbs. These urban customers are often less able to afford the rate increases that make this subsidy possible.

I understand the need to maintain a strong public utility – but the utility should not be allowed to take advantage of the market. I urge you not to approve this increase but to give UI the ability to purchase more then a few months of energy at a time so that they can really compete in the overall market and with that the DPUC will really help the ratepayer.

Respectfully yours,

Mordechai “Moti” Sandman
Alderman Ward 28
City of New Haven
165 Church Street
2nd Floor
New Haven, CT 06510

Monday, October 27, 2008

Elderly Tax Freeze

Posted to NHI:

There are two parts to the elderly tax freeze based on the applicants income level and if they have a spouse or not. The tax freeze has a $2,000 cap placed on the yearly benefit that a senior may receive. Any amount over the $2,000 can either be paid by the senior or put into deferral. The tax free benefit ends when the property is sold or transferred. Seniors who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 qualify for a deferral program that allows taxes to be deferred until the property is sold or transferred out of their name. Deferred taxes are charged a prime interest rate but create an option for individuals who do not meet the income requirements of the tax freeze. Homeowners who are 62 years of age and older qualify for the freeze if their spouse met all requirements at their time of death.

Applications for the program can be picked up at the City’s five senior centers or by contacting the Department of Elderly Services at 946-2272

The key is to make sure you get your application prior to November 1st or you will have to wait until next year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Firing Range comments post to New Haven Independent

This is posted to New Haven Independent in reply to the comments posted about this story

Hi All:

I would like to take a moment to respond to some of the comments stating that the neighborhood should be quite about the activity at the range.

Before getting to the heart of the letter I would like to preface my remarks by clearly stating that I and the entire Firing Range Committee understand and have no issue with the fact that our officers must be trained and certified. We also understand the positive “bridge building” effect that allowing other departments to use our range as well. We look forward to working with COA Smuts, Chief Lewis and Assistant Chief Brown in creating the best academy and firing range on the Wintergreen sight.

Firstly the neighborhoods (Newhallville & Beaver Hills) were built and settled prior to the range being activated. The first homes in Newhallville were built in the 1880s and the first homes in Beaver Hills were built in the 1910s. What we now call the New Haven Police Academy & Range was originally the Sherman Avenue Police Precinct building. The Academy took it over in the 1950s and the range was activated at that same time. Nearly all of the homes were already built in both neighborhoods’.

In addition the activity at the range was minimal. The State only required officers to shoot once every 3 years now our officers have to certify every year both in daylight and night shooting conditions. Also in the past it was just the New Haven PD.

Now we have 23 surrounding towns using our range to certify and train as well as six Federal Agencies, including the FBI, CIA, Coast Guard, ATF and the Secret Service.

The noise levels have jumped from the past as well. What used to be just pistol practice are now long guns and even flash bangs (this has the equivalent sound of a grenade).

Additionally we have 3 schools in earshot of the range, King Robinson, Hillhouse High & SCSU. No child or young adult should have to grow up learning in an environment that is filled with gunfire.

This is not what here when my family moved in over thirty something years ago. I trust that by proactively and positively engaging our elected officials in Washington as well as in Hartford we can show them that moving the Academy & range to the Wintergreen sight is the best and highest use for the old base and that the fact that multiple agencies as well as many surrounding towns use the range should work in our favor as well.

Moti Sandman
Alderman Ward 28

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Still Alive!


I would like to thank all of you that have sent me emails and voice mails about the senseless attack upon myself, Carl, Rob & Crissie this past Monday night.

I am physically OK and I hope that no one here has to go through what we did because there was no reason for it and it was totally unprovoked on our part.

You can read the details in the NHRegister or the New Haven Independent.