Thursday, March 26, 2009


Last week I received a response to my public records request. You may recall that I had asked the Department of Energy Resources how much of the RGGI auction proceeds ($5. million of public money) the utility companies will get. Here is the breakdown:
Cape Light Compact $357,000.00
Fitchburg/Unitil $107,725.00
NSTAR $1,452,530.00
National Grid $4,000,000.00
Western Mass/NE Utilities pending
Total $5,917,255.00
The biggest winner was National Grid, raking in a cheery $4 million. Where did that money come from? By way of a quick reminder, it came from the December 2008 CO2 auction. In exchange for the right to spew tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, companies that generate electricity give the states money, and the states give the money to companies that distribute electricity.

In the December 2008 auction there were 69 bidders and most of them, approximately 85%, were so-called "compliance entities," companies such as National Grid. Yes, National Grid.

So what does National Grid also have in its hands as a result of the auction? Pollution permits and a cool $4 million.

NSTAR didn't do too badly either. Its share of the public money was over $1.4 million. I can't help wondering why NSTAR needs that public money. After all, what were NSTAR's revenues last year? According to its website, $3.3 billion. In 2008 its net income went up 7.2% and things look rosy for 2009. The annual report boasts:

"We have also increased the dividend we pay to shareholders for the 11th consecutive year -- further indication of our financial strength. NSTAR increased the common dividend rate to $1.50 per share for 2009, up from $1.40 in 2008, a 7.1% increase."
Feeling queasy yet?

1 comment:

Jane said...

Hi Peter, Great blog. Isn't the idea that the companies that received this money must use it for programs to help increase energy efficiency - like being able to have your house insulated and only having to pay 25% of that cost, with the company picking up the 75%?