Transcript of Daniel Esty’s conference call with UBS
Moderator: Julien Dumoulin Smith
April 23, 2013
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the UBS Conference Call on Connecticut Energy Policy.
During the presentation, all participants will be in listen-only mode. Afterwards we’ll conduct a question and answer session. At that time if you have a question, please press 1, 4 on your telephones. If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator, press Star 0.
As a reminder, the conference is being recorded Tuesday, April 23, 2013. And now I would like to turn the conference over to Julien Dumoulin-Smith, UBS Power and Utilities Analyst. Please go ahead, sir.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Thank you, operator. Good afternoon everyone. We’re joined by Connecticut Commissioner Esty of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. He’s been with the Commission since March, 2011, since being appointed by Governor Malloy, and he’s very intimately familiar with energy policy – energy and environmental policy, given his background at Yale and other institutions.
So this is going to be a little bit brief this afternoon given his time, and so rather than the usual instruction marks and Q and A, I think we’re just going to dive right into some of the questions for Commissioner Esty.
And perhaps just to kick it off, thank you once again for joining us. Could you perhaps just provide a couple high-level comments here as to what you think the master plan is here. You know, clearly you guys have recently released a pretty substantial document detailing a number of different potential changes to the state. What do you see as your highest priority out there, you know, given your seat?
Daniel Esty: First, thank you all for being with me today. It’s a great chance to share a little bit about Governor Malloy’s vision for Connecticut’s energy future, which I think represents a break with what’s been done in other states and, frankly, what certainly is coming out of Washington.
And the centerpiece of the Governor’s vision is really a push for a cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity structure for the State of Connecticut. And I think we’re pursuing that in a variety of ways, most notably with the comprehensive energy strategy that was finalized in February.
And that provides a structure for policy, not only for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, but really across state government in Connecticut with a number of pillars that center on, first and foremost, greater energy efficiency, with a big push for greater security of energy supply, including a restructuring, in some regards, of our approach for energy procurement and a series of other interventions designed to bring down the cost of energy systematically over time for both residents and businesses.
In addition, it includes an element focused on transportation, really focused on trying to give a greater push to smart growth and to (unintelligible) total mobility; and then beyond that, a major commitment to providing more in the way of choice to Connecticut consumers when it comes to how they heat their homes and the energy work in their businesses, trying to ensure that we have core (unintelligible) in particular that have access to natural gas, which we see as the cheapest, cleanest option for the next decade or two.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Great. Well thank you very much for that synopsis. And so just diving right in, you say cheaper, cleaner energy. How does hydro fit into that? Because that’s obviously been, you know, a hot topic of discussion of late, particularly given some bills swirling around out there. How do you think about a potential, you know, re-evaluation of the RPS?
Daniel Esty: Well I think there has been a lot of dialogue around this. We’re talking at an opportune moment in some regards, although a few days too early in other regards, because the legislature is taking up legislation on this in the next week. Action could come as early as tomorrow.
And what we have proposed has now been refined by the legislative leaders, and it does call for a major ramp-up of the procurement of renewable power by the State of Connecticut in several traunches.
A first traunch that would focus on in-region (unintelligible) power that would not be open to hydro — at least not open to (unintelligible) hydro, large-scale hydro.
And a second traunch to follow where the state would be authorized to pursue a procurement that would include hydro for up to 5% of the state’s energy requirements. And the expectation is that we would make commitments both to regional renewables. That might be wind or solar, but most likely wind.
But again one of the principles of Governor Malloy’s approach is that we don’t pick winners. We are very much focused on creating a platform for private entrepreneurial activity. We’re very much focused on harnessing competitive pressures and economic incentives to bring down costs.
And we do think that hydro plays an important role in a balanced energy future for Connecticut that would be great for Connecticut residents and businesses to have access to. Hydro, as part of a kind of broader base of supply, would provide particularly, we think, opportunities to require what is quite a clean source of energy at low cost.
And we expect to run an effective bidding process that would allow not only Hydro-Quebec but the Maritime Provinces and perhaps others to compete for long-term contracts. And that, we think — the focus on long-term contracts — is what really is going to motivate action on the renewable and more broadly on the clean energy front.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Great. Thank you, Commissioner. I suppose a secondary question off that, you talk about, you know, equitable footing. Does that mean that you’ll evaluate, you know, large-scale hydro opportunities on an even playing field with other renewable opportunities? Is that what I should read from that?
Daniel Esty: Well I think what you should read from that is that we believe the hydro should not be disadvantaged in the marketplace as it has been. Our proposal does not offer hydro the REC opportunity that is available to other – the Renewable Energy Credit opportunity that would be available to other renewable.
But we think that hydro is pretty well established in the marketplace more broadly, and can compete on a price basis even without a REC value attached to it.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Right, it would meet the RPS, but wouldn’t necessarily qualify for the REC…
Daniel Esty: Well we’re – the revised proposal that is out and about today does not have hydro in the RPS unless there is a failure to meet the targets going forward. So it calls for hydro to enter (unintelligible) if there is a miss when it comes to meeting the Renewable Portfolio Standard going forward, beginning next year with the existing portfolio of renewables.
We are also proposing, I might add, to reduce the REC value that’s provided to biomass and landfill gas, consistent with the recognition that far too much of Connecticut’s precious energy incentive dollars have gone to those not-very-clean, not-very-cutting edge technologies.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Great. So a last question on the subject, when you think about just again, the hydro subject, does that mean – at what point do you make an evaluation to say, you know, it wouldn’t be – you’ve missed the RPS? Just to kind of get a sense as to the eligibility of hydro. Like where would that…
Daniel Esty: Well we’re anticipating doing the first phase of this renewable procurement in the next couple of months, but hydro will not be part of that. And then we anticipate a procurement that would include hydro competing with other Class 1 renewables later in the summer or in the early fall.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Got you. And this would all be for delivery in the later part of the decade, if I…
Daniel Esty: Well the renewables probably would require some delay. I think it’s quite likely that the second phase of this procurement would have power begin to flow next year. And so that would be a question of whether there are sources available that could meet that schedule.
Those would probably be preferred against projects that are further out. But, you know, it remains to be seen what proposals come in in response to the RFP we put out.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Right, exactly. It’s sort of market-driven in terms of the duration and when those come to market, if you will.
Daniel Esty: That’s right. And, you know, some of these resources — the hydro resources in particular — are already in place and could begin to flow power starting in 2014 over existing transmission line. And I think we anticipate (unintelligible) in the purchasing – sort of amount of power purchased out over the years that would rise as true transmission becomes available.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Right, okay, absolutely. Great. Well that’s great detail on that front. I’d be curious actually on the subject here of generation and renewables. You know, the dependency of the state on natural gas is reaching new heights here. Let’s talk about that for a second. How do you feel about, you know, potential oil-fired retirements here?
You know, obviously Vermont Yankee seems like it could be, you know, on its last years here as well. How do you think about fuel diversity in the context of Connecticut?
Daniel Esty: So Connecticut is, you know, we’ve got an interesting picture. With regard to home heating and business use of energy, Connecticut is radically underinvested in natural gas compared to other states. We have only 31% of our residents and about 45% of our businesses heating with natural gas today.
That’s much less than the 47% of Massachusetts residents; 48% of Rhode Island residents; and over 50% of New York residents all around us who are using natural gas. So we see gas as an important area of opportunity for expansion when it comes to home heating and business energy use.
With regard to electricity generation, we’ve got natural gas providing nearly 50% of our power today. And we’ve got nuclear providing nearly 50% as well. And we think in that regard some greater diversity of supply is advisable.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Operator, did we lose Esty there?
Daniel Esty: I just hear you. Can you hear me?
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: I can hear you. Sorry about that. All right, there we go.
Daniel Esty: No problem.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: We hear you. We hear you again. So you said a greater diversity – in that regard there’s a greater diversity of power you’re looking for. How do you achieve that?
Daniel Esty: Well I think we achieve it in part through what we were just talking about — renewable procurement and the opportunity for hydro to enter the southern New England marketplace in the years ahead.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: I’m curious just to get down to the details here. You know, ISO New England has been evaluating capacity market construct for a long time. The price floor’s set to come off next year, next February’s option. That should result in a very meaningful retirement of the existing oil-fired capacity in the state and region. Is that something that’s on your radar screen? Are you focused on it at all? Or is that just a matter of…
Daniel Esty: Absolutely. No, no, we’ve been very focused on that, and in ongoing conversations with (Unintelligible) New England. We’re very positive about that development, and we do believe it will result in additional retirements, which we think is constructive. And I think…
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Okay. All right, there we go, that’s…
Daniel Esty: Yeah, we’re…
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: You’re not concerned, right?
Daniel Esty: We are not concerned. We think there are a variety of opportunities going forward to meet peak load demand. We are also going to be working on an expanded program of energy efficiency broadly, and a particular focus on energy efficiency to do peak load shaving.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Got you. Excellent. Well I suppose in that regard there’s been some discussion about natural gas availability, right? Specifically for generators during the winter months. Obviously this past winter was a very clear example of this. How do you think about improving gas delivery into the region?
Daniel Esty: So we have been in conversations with a number of gas pipeline companies that might be able to expand capacity into Connecticut. We made that as an important part of our energy strategy going forward. We do believe that there is in effect a bottleneck at effectively the Hudson River. And we need to — along with our other colleagues across New England — find ways to expand capacity for the flow of gas to our state.
And we are very much focused on doing that in the context of existing pipeline. And there are discussions underway with Iroquois, with Algonquin and with others who’ve got pipelines in place. And I think there are also people that are proposing new merchant lines into Connecticut that we’ll be looking very carefully at.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: You know, under what procurement authority or mechanism would you look at that? I’m just – again I suppose traditionally (LBC)s procure firm transport. But, you know, if generation on the margin is incrementally from gas, how do you make sure that they have adequate supply?
Daniel Esty: Right. I think there are several ways to go about this. I think we will be working with our electric utilities, who are also our gas company owners, on ensuring that the ramp-up in demand is well understood and that they can transfer additional supply.
We will, in addition, be – and there is availability of additional supply, particularly at the end, for example, of the Iroquois pipeline, which now cuts across Connecticut and onto Long Island and into New York City.
But we anticipate that the flow of gas to those New York markets will increasingly be met by pipelines directly from the Marcellus Shale. And as a result there will be some additional supply available in the short term to Connecticut gas consumers.
We also anticipate working with ISO New England on a mechanism to ensure that our power generators that are burning natural gas are thinking hard about whether they should sign the interruptible contracts, or whether they (unintelligible) clearer structure of supply so that they’re available to operate in moments of chill and peak demands on gas.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Is that – I mean traditionally one of the problems is that you’re not allowed to bid that in the power prices. Is that something that you guys are thinking about? I mean are you pushing ISO New England to re-evaluate?
Daniel Esty: Absolutely. We’re working with them on a variety of power options that might allow us to overcome the problem that we experienced in January in a very serious cold snap.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Right. I mean let me put it this way. Some pretty serious issues this past winter. How do you feel about resolving that and seeing a replay of that in winter ’14?
Daniel Esty: I think we are working very hard with our colleagues and the energy departments are processing (unintelligible) particularly in Massachusetts, on a collaborative basis and in consultation with and cooperation with ISO New England, recognizing that there are several different approaches. I think I’m not prepared to say today which ones we’ll pursue, but I anticipate that there will be further news on this front over the next several months.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Got that. Great. And I suppose going back to that, I mean the other element you mentioned already is oil to gas home conversions. I mean that seems like a massive opportunity to reduce customer cost. How expansive of a program do you envision? I mean, you know, how quickly do you envision migrating the state over time to natural gas as a home heating fuel?
Daniel Esty: So our comprehensive energy strategy proposes that we move from, as I said, roughly 31% heating with natural gas today to a short-term target of 50% of the residences on natural gas out over seven years.
Whether exactly that pace and pattern is followed, we will probably know more in the next couple of months. The energy legislation that we put through requires the gas companies to come forward – the three Connecticut gas companies to come through with a plan for the build-out of natural gas infrastructure in the next couple of months.
So we anticipate (unintelligible) in June having that gas company in hand that will be reviewed by both the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and then, in effect, authorized by our Public Utility Regulatory Authority that we believe will get the construction going.
And there’s really, of course, several phases to this. There are people that are on gas now and not using it that we will try to hook up quickly. There are people that are near gas mains that we think with some new regulatory rules can get the system to connect up fairly quickly.
And then we have proposed a build-out of two gas mains by as much as 900 miles that would allow us to really expand the universe of people for whom natural gas is a heating choice.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Wow. So just to be clear also, it seems like there’s a utility plan that’s forthcoming and then there’s also some bills out there — I suppose rate credits specifically and then also changing the definition of eligibility. Is that right?
Daniel Esty: Well there are a variety of elements to the strategy here. There is the utility plan to ramp this up, and then there’s legislation that addresses some of the regulatory obstacles that kept Connecticut from having as much of an infrastructure for natural gas as the surrounding states.
In particular we had our gas companies on a limited payback period. They had to justify any investment they made in gas infrastructure in one case, 50 years; another case, 20-year time frame. We’re proposing that that be extended to a 25-year time frame. It would allow much greater gas company commitment of capital to this infrastructure build-out.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Right. That’s fantastic. I suppose, you know, following on that here, when you talk about 50% by in the next seven years, is that kind of a minimum threshold in your mind? Or is that, you know, is that how…
Daniel Esty: No, that’s our target – the target of our comprehensive energy strategy. I think there are some — and perhaps (unintelligible) some of the gas companies who are not confident they could – that move from 30% to 50% gas in a seven-year time frame. I think some of them think that’s a very fast pace to keep up.
But for those who don’t know it, we have a governor who is an extremely hard-charging guy, likes to set ambitious targets, and hold people’s feet to the fire. So I anticipate that that’s what we’ll do.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Got you. Okay. So there’s no going back. I mean that really seems pretty strong. I suppose kind of following up off of that, I’d be curious. You talked before, kind of switching gears, retail market procurement and shifts there.
You know, there’s been some discussion of late to move away from this traditional polar auction where customers, you know, procure through their utility and auctioning them off. What do you think about that? And how does that get done practically? I mean how do you hand over customers to, you know, third-party reps?
Daniel Esty: Are you talking about the proposal in Connecticut to move people off the standard offer and into the competitive marketplace?
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, how do you get that done is maybe the question.
Daniel Esty: So I think we are working on a refined proposal in that regard. Our expectation is that we will divide up the people that are, in effect, trapped in the standard offer, who have not entered the competitive marketplace, into blocks of 100,000 or 200,000 customers.
And then we will run an auction process that will allow those who have – who are in the business of electricity supply in the State of Connecticut to (unintelligible) these blocks of customers. And we would then transition those customers with a promise that they get a 5% discount from their current standard-offer electric rates as the price for any of the suppliers entering into this auction process.
We’ve also developed a structure of consumer protection that would go along with the auction, so that anyone who is moved into the marketplace would have a structure of protection, so that when the initial one-year period of a guaranteed 5% discount expires, there are opportunities for them to explore the market; see if there’s lower rate options available; and limits to how much their electric rates could go up after that one-year period.
We also anticipate building out a better information structure for the electricity supply marketplace for customers that need information on the supply options — a better Web site, Web portal, and a broader consumer education campaign — as we try to make our Connecticut citizens as good consumers of electricity as they have become around phone service.
Our model here is that 25 years ago if you wanted a phone, you called the AT&T up and they got you a phone and they charged you $29 a month. No discussion. No choice. We want to make sure that the competitive marketplace works, and that this transition of our citizens into that marketplace will (unintelligible) to their benefit.
And by the way, it’s not simply the blocks of 100,000 or 200,000 people that are moved into the competitive marketplace that will gain. The presence of those folks in the market — and after a year’s contract coming up for renewal and being out there looking at the supplier options — we think is going to have every single supplier of electricity in the Connecticut marketplace sharpening their pencils, lowering their rates, in order to compete for this flood of new customers that…
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Are you guys open to municipal aggregation?
Daniel Esty: We do have a proposal that would allow that. I think the City of Bridgeport has proposed a project in that regard. And we’re really in the business of choice. We want to give our municipalities some choice. We want to give our consumers choice. We would like to see people having more opportunities to take advantage of market competition.
And again I would say that’s a hallmark of the Dan Malloy, Governor Malloy, approach to the energy future, which is that we need to move away from the government picking winners, away from strategies where the government subsidizes chosen companies or industries or processes, and learn how to work much more carefully to harness market forces, use economic incentives, use limited government money to leverage private capital.
And that’s what we see ourselves doing in the electricity marketplace, in the natural gas arena, and frankly in pursuing our very ambitious energy efficiency agenda as well.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Absolutely. Very interesting. I suppose moving on to another subject here, you talked a lot about energy efficiency. And maybe one of the punchlines I’m curious in is, you know, decoupling isn’t uniform across all the state’s utilities. What’s your attitude towards that subject? I mean is that…
Daniel Esty: Well we’re on…
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Central to an EE, you know, statewide goal?
Daniel Esty: It’s one. We have a very ambitious goal of becoming the most energy efficient state in the country. And we’ve developed this, I think many of you would know, the first in the nation Green Bank — our clean energy finance and investment authority — to help flow more resources to a range of efficiency programs.
We set up the first in the nation commercial property (unintelligible) energy project to support that. We’ve developed a standardized energy services company performance contract to provide reassurance to both private parties and municipalities and others that they’re getting a fair deal from (ESCO)s.
So we’re very excited about the range of tools we’ve put in our electric customer hands to try and ensure they’re getting a good deal on efficiency. So I think we think that Connecticut is leading the way with a lot of these steps. And we anticipate that that will continue to ramp up in the months and years ahead.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: But specifically on the subject of decoupling, if you will, I’m just curious. I mean…
Daniel Esty: Sure.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: What is your thought on that as part of that?
Daniel Esty: So we think decoupling is a piece, but only one piece of a broader effort. The legislation that’s pending would move decoupling to more front and center. I also have proposed and we’re pushing legislation to make a possibility available of what I call decoupling plus.
From my point of view, the traditional decoupling — which allows a true-up at the end of the year for investments that have been made in energy efficiency so that the utilities don’t lose money on revenues that they don’t have because they succeeded with efficiency programs — I would like to replace with a broader incentive that rewards utilities more than they get in terms of selling electricity, for their success in selling efficiency.
So we have proposed and there’s legislation that would authorize — although not guaranteed that PURA, our Public Utility Regulatory, would accept it — but would authorize a variable rate of return and other incentives to encourage the utilities to meet a variety of policy targets.
But one very important one would be the ramp-up of efficiency, where broadening the number of players who get efficiency audits done and have efficiency investments made can (unintelligible) the results of what gets done after an energy audit.
So that we’re not just doing what I call rush efficiency, which is literally changing out the light bulbs and doing some weather-stripping, but get to much more — and sorry for the pun on the word mundane — but peak efficiency, which would entail more in the way of replacing appliances — new furnaces or boilers, even changing out windows, putting in insulation.
So we think there is an opportunity to move from an average efficiency gain of 5 to 8% for a basic audit, to something more like 15 or 20 or even 25% incentives to the utilities to really deliver, spur, retrofit strategy efficiency.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Wow, that’s pretty meaningful. Over what period – if you were to summarize your energy efficiency goals, annually what kind of efficiency gains are you targeting on a per capita basis?
Daniel Esty: So we have legislation. Again we’re typing it up. It authorizes us to pursue efficiency on an all-cost effective basis. And we think in the short- to middle-term, that is just about doubling the rate payer commitment of dollars to energy efficiency, and leveraging that with our private capital through our Green Bank by as much as 5 or 10 to 1.
So we expect a very dramatic increase in the flow of resources, both public — that is to say rate payer — and private capital to efficiency programs. And we’re going to target something on the order of 2.6% efficiency gains annually as a result of that ramped-up flow of money to efficiency.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Great. Fantastic. Maybe again kind of winding down here quickly, on the subject of storms. You know, obviously this is sort of an unfortunate conversation but, you know, New Jersey has kind of taken a new attitude towards, you know, basically storm-hardening, if you will, for lack of a better word.
How are you thinking about, you know, protecting for the next storm? Or was this really one in a hundred years and, you know, sort of a limited reaction?
Daniel Esty: No, I think we believe there is good reason to be concerned about the prospect for more intense hurricanes, now the winter storms, and more need to invest in not just coastal resiliency in particular, but investments in hardening of our grid.
And actually we’ve got a multi-pronged strategy in that regard, working with both United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power, with both companies now on multi-year investments in better vegetative management, tree-trimming; significant improvements in poles and wires; better transformers.
And we expect moving over time to more of a smart grid and smart meters to allow us to track outages better and to be clear on where problems have arisen.
We also have committed in Connecticut to what I think is a breakout proposal to develop micro-grids across the state. And we’re in the midst of a process of supporting a first ten or twelve micro-grid efforts.
And from our point of view, a micro-grid represents an opportunity for a shift away from a few big central power stations to some number of smaller distributed generation capacity options that would be at critical facilities — perhaps hospitals or sewage treatment plants, prisons — but also for downtowns where we would have a police or a fire station, a warming center, a place to charge a cell phone, connected in some cases at least to some commercial activity — a grocery store, a bank, a drugstore, a gas station.
And our view is that what we’d like to see is, in most of these cases, a new or repurposed generation opportunity — perhaps fuel cells, perhaps small gas turbines — but providing 24/7 power, and defined by the ability to be island-ed during a crises.
So we see the option of building out some number of these micro-grids as part of our investment in resiliency. And while we can’t prevent the grid from going down, we do think there’s an opportunity to have some number of these micro-grids around that will reduce the burden on the Connecticut citizen when the power is out.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Got you. Excellent. And you would envision, just to be clear, CL&P and UI, they would be the developers of such micro-grids?
Daniel Esty: They would potentially play a role. We’re open to a range of options, and that’s what we’re doing in this pilot exercise is exploring what the options are when it comes to building out these micro-grids and how best to structure who’s in the grid, what the design of the grid is, how it’s managed.
But we expect the utilities to be available to play a role. They may in fact be the ones who manage some of these or perhaps all of these micro-grids as the program develops over time.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: And last question, I mean this is more of a risk factor. How do you think about procurement of capacity? I know the state’s engaged in that before, right? The New Haven (unintelligible), et cetera. How do you think about that as a policy, you know, given your comments about supporting market, you know, dynamics to drive new investment?
David Esty: We are very eager to have a kind of tightened-up capacity structure out over the next few years. We think that there has got to be some opportunity to improve how the (unintelligible) markets work, and we think there is again a conversation to be had with our colleagues in some other states and with ISO New England, to make those markets deliver better against the public’s needs.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Excellent. So I know I want to be cognizant of your time here. You said, you know, we only had a few minutes…
David Esty: Yeah, I’m afraid I’m going to have to sign off shortly. I am near the end of my window of opportunity.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: If you were to summarize, kind of going back to it, in terms of priorities, you know, you’re in the seat here. You only have certain hours in the day. What are the top three things that you want to see executed over the next, you know, three- to six-month period? Because there’s just so much on the plate, particularly given how much legislation there is pending here, what three bills are you going to be pushing the hardest here?
Daniel Esty: Well I think we got a big push to ramp up energy efficiency as kind of the heart and soul and the first item of our comprehensive energy strategy. I think we want to do that while demonstrating this new approach that focuses on leveraging limited government money to bring in private capital. And we think that will involve some expansion of rate payer dollars, but also more broadly this Green Bank as the heart of a broader program.
Second I think we’re going to ramp up our commitment to renewable power in a very meaningful way, but doing it in again, a Dan Malloy approach, which is focus not on clean energy, but on cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity supply out over time.
And I think, you know, the third piece that we’re really focused on is the natural gas build-out and trying to make sure that we provide Connecticut residents with a choice of natural gas in many more cases, and with access to natural gas which we see again for both businesses and residence as likely the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable energy source for heating out of the next couple of decades.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Got you. Excellent.
Daniel Esty: So I hope that gives you a picture of where we’re headed. And, you know, there are many secondary and tertiary elements, but that’s the kind of core of the project.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Got you. Excellent. Fantastic. Any other parting comments before you run that you want to leave us with?
Daniel Esty: No, I think that gives a pretty good picture of what we’re up to in Connecticut. I hope people appreciate the kind of fresh approach that we’re trying to pursue, and the break with what’s been done elsewhere. And, you know, I think it represents a real commitment to innovation as the heart of an energy strategy, which is not necessarily where others have been in recent times.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Great. Well thank you very much for the time. I appreciate you squeezing us in today, and best of luck with everything you’ve got on your plate.
Daniel Esty: Thanks so much. My pleasure. Take care. Bye-bye.
Julien Dumoulin-Smith: Bye-bye. Operator, I think that concludes our call today.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your line.
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