Capital Energy: Suez goes for surcharge in Rockland, hedge fund buys Norse …

April 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

By Scott Waldman and David Giambusso

Welcome to Capital Energy, your daily guide to news on the manufacture, consumption and regulation of energy in New York. Sign up for our newsletters here. 

FRENCH COMPANY SEEKS TO COVER COSTS IN ROCKLAND — Bill Sanderson, writing for Capital: “In papers filed with the state Public Service Commission this month, United Water complains that its $153 million proposal to pump desalinated and purified river water to Rockland businesses and homes is drowning in an ocean of state bureaucracy and local political opposition … As a solution, the utility—a subsidiary of France’s Suez Environnement—proposes that the state compel its Rockland County customers to compensate it for the $56.8 million it’s already poured into the unbuilt project, via an 8.08 percent surcharge on water bills. … The company’s request, which works out to about $179 for each Rockland resident, departs from usual utility business practice, in which ratepayers don’t have to pay for new infrastructure until it’s up and running.”

FRACKING LEASES PURCHASED: The gas leases on 180,000 acres of New York land once held by the bankrupt subsidiary of a Norwegian energy company have now been sold. Mason Capital Management, a New York hedge fund, bought the defunct Norse Energy last week, said Tom West, an attorney representing Norse. The company recently had its day in court on the state’s long-delayed health study of fracking.


  • Capital Energy: Global award for Ithaca fracking foe
  • On ‘good information’


BIG BILLS ON THE WAY: A reduction in power generators, mostly coal and nuclear, and an increased focus on renewable energy means utility bills are going to rise, Ralph Vartabedian reports in the Los Angeles Times. In California, they can go up 47 percent in 15 years. Strict new federal emissions rules will force the closure of dozens of coal-burning plants soon, equivalent to 60 nuclear reactors.

“We are now in an era of rising electricity prices,” said Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who said the steady reduction in generating capacity across the nation means that prices are headed up. “If you take enough supply out of the system, the price is going to increase.”

– Editorial: Capacity Zone will bring rate hikes to New York: The Journal News argues against the physics and cost of the state’s “energy capacity zone,” an incentive designed by the New York Independent System Operator to mandate peak energy used by New York City is purchased from nearby generators. Consumers can expect an increase in their bills because the electricity would become more costly.

UNDER THE DOME: A stainless steel arch is being constructed to contain the former Chernobyl nuclear facility in Russia. It’s big enough to hold the State of Liberty and is being constructed by workers who work behind a gigantic concrete wall, The New York Times’ Henry Fountain reports. The $1.5 billion project capping the reactor that caught fire and sent radioactivity into the atmosphere 28 years ago is a reminder of the other side of the nuclear debate, the one about safety. The arch is built to last for 100 years, about how long the estimated cleanup will take.

HIGH PRAISE FOR ZIBELMAN: William Pentland, writing on, sings the praises of Audrey Zibelman, chair of the state Public Service Commission. Pentland says PSC’s plan to better distribute power generation throughout the state could “fundamentally change how electric service is provided and paid for.”

GLOVES OFF: Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy is on the offensive against climate change skeptics, Politico’s Erica Martinson reports. Her comments reflect a new approach from the Obama administration.

“People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts,” McCarthy said. “You can’t just claim the science isn’t real when it doesn’t align well with your political or financial interests. … With the health of our families and our futures at stake, the American people expect us to act on the facts, not spend precious time and taxpayer money refuting manufactured uncertainties.”

ENERGY TRANSFER TO BUY SUSSER: The company that owns Sunoco Inc. has made a $1.8 billion cash and stock deal to buy buy Susser Holdings, Reuters reports. Energy Transfer Partners, which owns and operates about 35,000 miles of pipelines, plans to combine its retail outlets and Susser’s convenience stores and transfer them to a Susser unit to create a retail business, allowing Energy Transfer to focus on shipping gas.

–New York Firm investigating the deal: Faruqi and Faruqi, an NYC-based securities firm said they would be investigating the Susser deal for potential breaches of fiduciary duties.

COMPANY RECOGNITION: Con Ed employees Diane Miskiewicz, John Biancaniello, Gina Callender, Lou Villani and Mike Gupta for receiving the company’s prestigious “Living Our Values” award.

POLLUTION CONTROL: China has an aggressive goal of increasing its reliance on nuclear power and renewables by 2030 to address the country’s serious air pollution problems. But the pace of construction is nearly impossible, so that means it will continue to rely on coal for the foreseeable future.

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you so please tell us how we can make it even better. Send tips, news, ideas, calendar items, releases, promotions, job postings, birthdays, congratulations, criticisms and corrections to and

U.S. CRUDE IS UP DESPITE GLOBAL DIP IN OIL PRICES: U.S. crude for June delivery gained 24 cents to close at $100.84 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, an international benchmark, fell $1.46, or 1.3 percent, to close at $108.12 in London. Brent fell on news that Libya would soon resume exports from a 70,000 barrel-per-day terminal that had been occupied by rebels.

–Gasoline is up too: The price of retail gas rose 3 cents over last week to an average of $3.71 a gallon. That’s also a 19 cent increase from this time last year.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 40,000. That’s how many barrels of oil are being produced a day in the opposition-controlled region of Syria.


GRID LIMITS: The nation’s power grid has reached its limits, Steve Goreha argues at The Hill. The large-scale closure of coal-fired and nuclear power plants will make it more unreliable, writes Goreham, executive director of Climate Science Coalition of America, which denies human-caused global warming.

PSEG LONG ISLAND RAISES $40K FOR MARCH OF DIMES: Employees of the Long Island power company participated in a charity event for “March of Dimes – March for Babies in East Meadow,” raising $40,000 for research.

WANT MORE ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT COVERAGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY? To learn more about how to get bite-size “whiteboard” alerts that focus specifically on energy and environment issues sent directly to your inbox, please contact Lauren Englander at

URBAN CRUDE: A photo essay on the oil fields of Los Angeles from the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Yes, they are in the city and produce more than 200,000 barrels annually.

EXITING BANKRUPTCY: Energy Future Holdings Corp., the Texas utility at the center of the biggest private-equity buyout ever, is nearing a deal with creditors on a restructuring plan designed to shorten the company’s time in bankruptcy court, the Wall Street Journal reports.


-The Sierra Club reports on the battle being waged against solar by investor-owned utility companies concerned about dwindling profits.


Comments are closed.