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Patrick Skahill / WNPR

When you think of environmentally beneficial landscapes, the land beneath power lines might not be at the top of your list, but new research is highlighting this habitat's importance in conserving a wide array of plant and insect life.

The Chairman and CEO of Northeast Utilities didn’t violate campaign finance laws when he urged his employees to give money to help re-elect Governor Dannel Malloy. That was the judgment this week of the State Election Enforcement Commission.

But the Commission did have strong opinions about Thomas May’s actions. “The content of the solicitation by Mr May is both offensive and disturbing, and violates the spirit and the intent of the Connecticut state contractor ban,” said the judgment.

In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.

During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.

CT-N

A fight is brewing over a request by Connecticut's largest utility to raise rates by $232 million to upgrade equipment following destructive storms. The first of three related public hearings took place on Wednesday.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Connecticut has a lot of trees. Our state leads the nation on this piece of technical jargon from the state forester, "woodland urban interface tree density." That means two things -- one: Connecticut has a lot of old, towering, trees -- and two, when major storms, like the ones in 2011 and 2012, hit those trees can be really vulnerable.

Metro-North Railroad has released a final report on what it has done to improve safety following a series of accidents last year. The rail line says it has completed most of its priorities. In a 100-day action plan, Metro-North said it has established an investigation unit to look into the root causes of accidents, overhauled a system safety plan, reviewed and improved employee training programs and made other changes.

State regulators are giving the public one last chance to weigh in on rules governing utilities’ tree-trimming practices before issuing a final decision in the case. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority held a hearing today. A final decision by PURA is expected tomorrow.

Navy Submarine Returns From European Deployment

Connecticut lawmakers averted a $4.5 million cut to legal aid for the poor that was expected to reduce services for the state’s neediest residents. The legislature approved a plan to continue using increased court filing fees to fund legal aid. It was part of a massive budget bill adopted just before the legislative session ended on Wednesday.

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The state senate has unanimously passed a bill to address many complaints against independent electricity suppliers.

Sarah Simpson / Creative Commons

Utility regulators say independent electric suppliers in the state should be required to give consumers a clear disclosure about how much they're paying for power.

Flickr user Chris Hunkeler/ Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has released a plan to protect Connecticut's utilities against cyber attacks. Connecticut's electric, natural gas, major water companies and the regional distribution systems have already been penetrated in the past.

When asked just how many cyber attacks have happened, Arthur House, chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, said he can't go into much detail.

Governor Dannel Malloy and lawmakers, along with gun violence prevention groups gathered in Hartford today to commemorate the one year anniversary of the post-Newtown gun control, school safety and mental health law.

Committee Approves Reduced Penalty Bill

Sarah Simpson / Creative Commons

Proposed new legislation would set new limits on Connecticut's independent electric suppliers, curbing what state officials are calling deceptive practices. The bill was introduced by Governor Dannel Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen, and Consumer Counsel Elin Katz. 

Flickr Creative Commons

With a 15-5 vote, Bridgeport's City Council approved a massive solar energy project this week that could bring thousands of solar panels to a former city landfill. Since dumps are no longer allowed in Connecticut, that's left a lot of city leaders wondering what to do with that old space. 

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