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An NU Timeline

Some of the Major Events in NU's History Since the 1966 Affiliation

1967 NU experiences a 6.4 percent growth in total electric and gas revenues, although a $4.5 million rate reduction occurs in 1966. NU wins the Edison Award, the electric industry's highest honor, for "foresight and enterprise in creating a utility corporate affiliation" and for "establishing a venture in the economies of scale in response to changing power technology for the benefit of its customers." Holyoke Water Power joins the NU system. CL&P marks its 50th anniversary.
1968 Construction and operation of 590-MW Connecticut Yankee, one of the world's most productive nuclear power plants. NU adds its 1,000,000th customer. Annual sales of electricity reach 13.5 billion kilowatt-hours, up 9 percent over 1967. Gas sales total 21.3 billion cubic feet. Northfield Mountain Project is licensed by the Federal Power Commission. Sherman R. Knapp becomes chairman; Lelan F. Sillin, Jr. becomes president and chief executive officer.
1969 NU's General Offices are moved from Wethersfield to Berlin. NU common shares are owned by more than 126,000 individual and institutional investors in all 50 states and many foreign countries.
1970 NU takes a leadership role in the formation of the New England Power Exchange and the New England Power Pool. Millstone 1, a 660-MW boiling water reactor unit, begins commercial operation. Lelan F. Sillin, Jr., becomes chairman and president.
1971 The number of NU shareholders increases to 142,000.Approximately 71 percent live in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Annual sales of electricity reach 16.5 billion kilowatt-hours. Gas sales top 24.5 billion cubic feet.
1972 Construction and operation of the 1,000-MW Northfield Mountain Station, one of the world's largest pumped-storage hydroelectric facilities at Northfield Mountain in Massachusetts.
1973 OPEC oil embargo causes fuel availability uncertainty. NU common shares sell below book value ($12.83) for the first time. NU moves to increase reliable fuel sources; submits application for Millstone 3 to Atomic Energy Commission. Montague, Massachusetts, selected as the site for two 1,150-megawatt nuclear generating units to be operating in 1981. An ice storm on December 16 leaves 250,000 customers out of service.
1974 The OPEC oil embargo, soaring interest rates, and rampant inflation combine to further deteriorate NU earnings and to limit its ability to finance major construction programs.
1975 Millstone 2, an 860-MW nuclear unit, begins commercial operation. Annual electric revenues reach $716.9 million, an increase of 10.4 percent over 1974. Gas revenues rise to $67.7 million, a 13.7 percent increase. The number of employees decreases to 7,452 — about 500 fewer than in mid-1974.
1976 A bitter winter and energy shortages close schools, factories, and businesses in many parts of the nation, but NU's nuclear capability meets customers' energy demand, sparing the burning of 20 million barrels of oil and, at $14 a barrel, avoiding $280 million in additional expense.
1977 The Montague nuclear project's future comes under study; completion date of the first unit is pushed back to 1988-90. NU's regional structure implemented.
1978 NU shareholders increase to 199,831. Electric revenues increase 6.0 percent to $833.5 million. Gas revenues increase to 6.3 percent to $92.4 million. Cumulative nuclear savings since 1974 amount to more than $460 million and more than 90 million barrels of oil. The National Energy Watch conservation program instituted to provide information and incentives to help customers improve the thermal efficiency of their homes. William B. Ellis becomes president.
1979 Annual electric revenues increase 14.9 percent to $958.1 million. Gas revenues increase 14.7 percent to $106 million. Conservation efforts slow the growth in demand for electric power; CONNSAVE launched in Connecticut, Mass-Save in Massachusetts. System generating capacity totals 5,921 megawatts. Nuclear and hydro facilities spare the burning of more than 23 million barrels of oil, worth $480 million.
1980 Development of NU 80s/90s (renamed Energy Alliance in 1985), one of the most comprehensive energy conservation programs in the United States, to reduce dependence on imported oil. Additional efforts to reduce oil dependence included the conversion of the 147-MW Mt. Tom Station from oil to coal, and reactivation of the 320-kW Bantam hydroelectric station after ten years of retirement. Montague nuclear project canceled.
1981 NU's commitment to nuclear power saves $1.4 billion in oil displacement since 1974, more than 1.5 times the amount invested in NU's nuclear entitlements. Connecticut Yankee remains the world's most productive nuclear power unit. NU 80s/90s launched to customers.
1982 HELCO merged into CL&P. NU's effort to avoid reliance on foreign oil reduces the company's dependence from 74 percent in 1973 of its generation mix to 32 percent.
1983 Annual electricity sales increase 3.9 percent to 20.4 billion kilowatt-hours. Gas sales drop 4.3 percent to 27.6 billion cubic feet. Net income increases 46.5 percent to $221,548,000; earnings increase 34.7 percent (due in large part to large noncash AFUDC earnings). Integrated Supply and Demand Planning process initiated. William B. Ellis becomes chairman and chief executive officer. E. James Ferland becomes president and chief operating officer.
1984 The 82-MW Montville Unit 5 is converted to burn natural gas as well as oil. Nuclear units operate with a composite capacity factor of more than 78 percent—an all-time record for NU. CY sets a new world record of 417 days of continuous operation. NU has 62 megawatts of cogeneration and 58 megawatts of small power production. Oil-fired generation accounts for 25 percent of total generation mix. Gas business increases 7.3 percent to deliver 29.7 billion cubic feet.
1985 Hurricane Gloria — the worst natural disaster to hit NU — disrupts power to 535,000 customers on September 27. NU receives White House citation for private sector initiative in solving energy problems. Agreements signed to import Canadian hydropower. NU 80s/90s is enhanced and renamed Energy Alliance. Millstone 1 sets new United States record for boiling water reactors, staying on line for 374 consecutive days. Rocky River Pumped-Storage Hydroelectric Station designated an historic civil engineering landmark.
1986 The 1,150-MW Millstone 3 unit begins commercial service; operates with a capacity factor of 84.2 for the year. Storm Carl interrupts service to 210,000 customers. IDSP indicates that conservation, load management, cogeneration, repowering, and life-extension options seem sufficient to satisfy NU's electric energy resource needs for the next 20 years. NU stock prices trade between $17-3/8 and an all-time high of $28-1/4. Fossil fuel role in generation mix reduced to 24 percent.
1987 United States Department of the Interior award for environmental and recreational excellence at Northfield Mountain. NU responds to increasing competition in the energy marketplace through increased emphasis on excellent customer service, rate design, and cost management. Energy Alliance focuses increasingly on conservation and load management programs. Bernard M. Fox becomes president and chief operating and financial officer.
1988 NU receives the Connecticut Malcolm Baldrige Quality Improvement Award for dedication to improving customer service. COMPUTERWORLD magazine selects NU as the nation's most efficient user of data processing equipment to contain costs. NU announces interest in acquiring PSNH and files plan with SEC to divest the gas business. NU initiates four-part business strategy: increase the competitiveness of the core electric business, improve NU's financial performance, enter new energy-related businesses, and expand NU's electric business geographically. System demand for electricity peaks at 4,883 megawatts on August 12.
1989 NU begins acquisition of Public Service Company of New Hampshire. Gas business divested as Yankee Energy System, Inc. NU creates Charter Oak Energy, Inc., a new subsidiary for development and joint ownership of cogeneration facilities nationwide. NU sends 15 line crews and 11 vehicles to Jamaica to assist in the restoration of power lines destroyed by Hurricane Gilbert. NU system has identical winter and summer peaks of 4,858 megawatts. Cogeneration and small power production account for 4 percent of NU system generation.
1990 Electric sales total 26.9 billion kilowatt-hours, excluding bulk power sales. Five-year composite nuclear capacity factor averages 74.8 percent. Fossil-steam availability exceeds 90 percent. Nonutility generation (cogeneration and small power production) climbs to about 10 percent of system total. Boston-based HEC Inc., an energy conservation services company, becomes an NU subsidiary. NU spends nearly $50 million on energy conservation and load management. Energy Alliance's cumulative effect of conservation and load management programs reduces NU's 1990 summer peak load by more than 900 megawatts.
1991 Expanded cost-containment measures help offset the impact of recession-influenced, reduced retail sales and less-than-adequate rate relief. NU underspends its budget by more than $100 million, and its workforce reduction reaches 1,100 since 1987 as 400 employees select an early-retirement option. NU adopts a five-year business plan, creates a Corporate Business Practices Group, and implements near-term and long-range corrective actions following a decline in nuclear operational performance. Step 1 of a two-step process for acquiring PSNH is taken; PSNH emerges from bankruptcy and is managed by NU under a management services agreement.
1992 NU strengthens its competitive position in the electric-power industry, achieving new efficiencies and growing in size and diversity. Customer Service Operations merges five Connecticut regions into three and consolidates 20 credit activity offices in Connecticut and Massachusetts into a single credit group in Berlin. NU completes a $28-million addition to its general offices in Berlin in a consolidation of functions expected to save about $1 million annually in leasing costs. Step 2 in acquiring PSNH is taken; PSNH merges into the NU system on June 5, and NU becomes one of the 20 largest electric-utility systems in the United States in terms of assets, revenues, and customers. WMECo secures regulatory approval for a multiyear rate plan. NU's expenditures for C&LM reach a decade-long total of more than $300 million, resulting in a winter-peak load reduction of some 300 megawatts, more than 40 percent of New England's total load reduction.
1993 NU embarks on a multiyear process-reengineering project to enable the system to respond more quickly and effectively to the specific needs of different customers. CL&P secures regulatory approval for a multiyear rate plan. CL&P consolidates its five Customer Service Centers into one statewide center with a single 800 toll-free telephone number. NU continues downsizing to increase its competitiveness, reducing its workforce by a net of 700 employees through a combination of early retirements and layoffs, bringing the total reduction over the past five years to almost 20 percent. NU enhances its commitment to environmental protection by forging a first-in-the-nation partnership with the American Lung Association built on strict controls of sulfur-dioxide emissions from generating plants. Bernard M. Fox succeeded William B. Ellis as NU's chief executive officer. The corporate logotype changes to symbolize the "new NU."
1994 NU restructures its corporate organization to strengthen the company's response to increasing competition; two new organizations are created: the Retail Business Group and the Energy Resources Group will be better able to respond more effectively and efficiently to the needs of key customer sectors. The two groups are aided by the Corporate Center, whose sole function is to support all market-driven activities. The system took further environmental-protection steps, including PSNH's decision to pioneer a new "clean coal" technology at the Merrimack Station to reduce nitrogen oxide emission by two-thirds. PSNH's overall NOx-reduction programs accounted for 80 percent of all NOx reductions in New Hampshire by mid-1995.
1995 NU works with regulators in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire as they begin considering ways to restructure the electric-power industry of the future. As part of NU's commitment to encourage economic development throughout its service territory, the company has partnered with hundreds of key customers in flexible-rate agreements and energy-efficiency assistance since the fall of 1991; the partnering agreements represent approximately $200 million in 1995 revenues, and the customers involved employ more than 50,000 people in the three states served by NU. The company restructures its nuclear organization to improve performance of its nuclear-powered generating units, including creation of a top-level group dedicated to increasing operational safety. William B. Ellis retires as NU's chairman and is succeeded by Bernard M. Fox, who retains his position of president and chief executive officer.
1997 NU continues to work with regulators on restructuring, and Michael G. Morris becomes chairman, president and chief executive officer of the NU System.
1998 Massachusetts, in March 1998, becomes the first state in the Northeast Utilities (NU) service territory to implement competition. The Connecticut Legislature in April 1998 votes overwhelmingly to pass restructuring legislation. The governor signs the bill into law on April 29, making Connecticut the 17th state to adopt retail customer choice. NU sets its vision on becoming a leading provider of energy products and energy services and a major energy trader in the Northeast through its subsidiaries, including the new Select Energy Inc.
1999 NU affiliates Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo) and Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P) auction their fossil-hydro plants in accordance with restructuring legislation. An NU unregulated affiliate, Northeast Generation Company, is a successful bidder for several plants in Connecticut. On June 15, 1999, NU announces plans for a $679 million merger with Yankee Energy System Inc. On Sept. 15, 1999, NU announces plans to sell its Millstone Station nuclear plants. On Oct. 12, 1999, NU and Consolidated Edison of New York announced plans to merge.
2000 As a result of industry restructuring legislation in their respective states, CL&P and WMECo become energy delivery companies on January 1, delivering to customers electricity that is produced by other companies. On March 1, NU's merger with Yankee Energy System, Inc. is completed. NU gains nearly 181,000 natural gas customers in Connecticut through Yankee Gas. On March 14, Northeast Generation Company closes on the purchase of several CL&P and WMECo generation assets including Northfield Mountain Station. In September, PSNH and the state of New Hampshire approve a comprehensive settlement agreement on restructuring of the New Hampshire electric industry.
2001 On Jan. 22, NU subsidiary, Northeast Generation Services Company (NGS), purchases E.S. Boulos Company, a high-voltage electrical contractor based in Maine. NU launches the Transmission Business as a separate business unit. On March 5, Con Edison advises NU that it is unwilling to close its merger with NU on the terms set forth in the parties' Oct. 13, 1999 agreement and plan of merger as amended and restated as of Jan. 11, 2000. On March 12, NU files suit against Con Edison in District Court in New York seeking damages in excess of $1 billion. On March 31, NU subsidiaries, CL&P, WMECo and PSNH, and other unaffiliated owners close on the sale of Millstone Station to a subsidiary of Dominion Resources for $1.3 billion. On May 1, deregulation begins for PSNH customers, who are now able to choose their own energy supplier. On Nov. 30, NU subsidiary Select Energy, Inc. acquires Niagara Mohawk Energy Marketing of Syracuse, N.Y. and renames it Select Energy New York. On Dec. 14, Holyoke Water Power sells its Hadley Falls hydroelectric dam and other assets to Holyoke Gas & Electric Department of the city of Holyoke, Mass., for $17.5 million. HWP retains ownership of Mount Tom Station, a coal-burning generation facility (147 MW).
2002 On July 31, Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corporation, 17% owned by NU’s electric utility subsidiaries, sells the Vermont Yankee Nuclear power plant to a subsidiary of Entergy Corp. On Nov. 1, NU subsidiaries North Atlantic Energy Corp. and CL&P sell their combined 40 percent share of Seabrook Station to a subsidiary of FPL Group, a Florida-based company, for $384 million. In July 2002, NU subsidiary NGS purchases Woods Electrical Company and Woods Network Services for $16.3 million. As part of industry restructuring, NU lays off more than 200 administrative staff members and 100 contractors. In June 2002, NEON Communications, Inc., a telecommunications company in which NU subsidiary Mode 1 Communications, Inc. has a significant investment, files for bankruptcy. NEON emerges from bankruptcy in December 2002 with Mode 1 as a holder of 7% of its outstanding securities.
2003 On March 1, ISO New England on the request of FERC, implements standard market design (SMD), which includes locational marginal pricing (LMP) where local customers are now responsible for the cost of transmission constraints. In April, the New Hampshire Legislature passes legislation that allows PSNH to retain its generation plants until at least April 2006 and says that the plants can only be sold if it is found to be in the economic best interest of customers. NU is awarded an Emergency Assistance Award from the Edison Electric Institute for the outstanding efforts of 105 crews to aid Conectiv and Pepco to restore power after Hurricane Isabel. On Dec. 31, PSNH acquires the assets of Connecticut Valley Electric Company, adding an additional 11,000 customers. Mike Morris steps down as chairman, president and chief executive officer, effective Dec. 31. Charles Schivery is named interim president and Lead Trustee Dr. Elizabeth Keenan is named interim Chairman of the Board.
2004 On March 30, NU's Board of Trustees appoints Charles W. Shivery as NU's chairman, president and chief executive officer. Later in the year, John H. Forsgren retires as executive vice president and chief financial officer and is succeeded by David R. McHale. That summer, WMECo completes its move to its new headquarters at Springfield Technical Community College's Technology Park in downtown Springfield. Meanwhile, NU crews remain in demand by other utilities for emergency restoration assistance. Forty crews from CL&P, WMECo and PSNH work a month-long restoration assisting Florida utility customers following Hurricanes Jeanne, Frances, and Ivan. The NU companies respond again in December to assist NStar in Massachusetts when heavy snow buries Cape Cod. In major capital projects, work begins on PSNH's Northern Wood Power Project to reduce emissions by replacing a coal-fired boiler at Portsmouth's Schiller Station with a unit that burns clean wood products. Also, a nine mile extension of natural gas main becomes operational in southeast Connecticut, delivering gas supply and enhanced reliability to gas customers in Rhode Island.
2005 CL&P President and Chief Operating Officer Lee Olivier becomes president of NU’s Transmission Group; Utility Group Services Vice President Raymond P. Necci is named president of CL&P. Lawrence E. De Simone is named president of Select Energy as William W. Schivley retires. Construction begins on Yankee Gas 1.2 billion-cubic-foot liquefied natural gas storage facility in Waterbury, Conn. CL&P energizes the first portion of its 20-mile Bethel to Norwalk Transmission project. NU companies provide mutual aid following an unprecedented series of hurricanes. CL&P, WMECo and PSNH assist Florida utilities following Hurricane Dennis. When Hurricane Katrina hits, line crews from CL&P and WMECo assist Mississippi Power, and Yankee Gas participates in its first out-of-state mutual aid restoration, rebuilding the municipal gas distribution system in Pascagoula, Mississippi. CL&P, WMECo and PSNH return to Florida following Hurricane Wilma. A federal appeals court rules NU shareholders may not pursue a claim against Con Edison alleging a breach of the 2001 merger. NU announces it will divest its remaining competitive generation and retail marketing businesses, and focus solely on its regulated utility operations.
2006 In January, a federal appeals court denies NU’s motion to reconsider a decision limiting its claim of damages against Con Edison for not completing their merger agreement. Work begins on the Middletown to Norwalk Transmission project, extending 345-kV power lines into southwest Connecticut. PSNH begins installing equipment to reduce mercury and sulfur emissions at its regulated Merrimack Station generator. In December, its Northern Wood Power project goes into operation using a wood-fired boiler fueled by waste wood from local forestry. Holyoke Water Power’s Mount Tom Station, a competitive generator, initiates its Selective Catalytic Reduction project to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. As part of NU’s divestiture of its competitive businesses, Select Energy sells its retail energy marketing business to Amerada Hess Corp., Ameresco, Inc. acquires Select Energy Services, and Energy Capital Partners enters into an agreement to purchase NU’s competitive generation assets in Connecticut and Massachusetts. In a year of significant milestones, NU marks the 40th anniversary of its formation and PSNH celebrates its 80th anniversary.
2007 Yankee Gas completes construction on a liquefied natural gas facility in Waterbury, Conn., allowing the company to buy natural gas at times of low demand and cost for its customers’ winter use, when fuel costs are higher. PSNH completes the first full year of operation of its wood-fired Northern Wood Power project in Portsmouth. Work continues on the Middletown to Norwalk Transmission project, the Glenbrook Cable project and the Long Island Replacement project, an 11-mile, 138-kV cable system linking Norwalk, Conn., and Northport, N.Y. The opening of NU’s Northern Call Center in Manchester, N.H., enables taking customer calls from anywhere in NU’s service territory, for improved customer service. The NU Foundation awarded more than $800,000 to local communities and $1 million to the Connecticut Science Center.
2008 NU separates the combined management of CL&P and Yankee Gas; WMECo President Rod Powell is named president of Yankee Gas and NU Vice President–Shared Services Peter Clarke is named president of WMECo. Jim Muntz is named president of Transmission. NU and NSTAR file with federal regulators for a proposed transmission interconnection with Quebec for the Northern Pass project. NU announces plans to relocate its headquarters to a 90,000-square-foot building in downtown Hartford purchased from Phoenix Companies, upon completion of renovations.
2009 WMECo begins construction of a 1.8-MW solar plant on an eight-acre brownfield site in Pittsfield, Mass. CL&P completes its “Plan-It Wise” smart meter rate pilot program. NU broadens its support of plug-in electric vehicles, participating in Connecticut’s Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Council and testing charging infrastructure as part of a national initiative. In October, NU enters into an agreement with Boston-area utility NSTAR and Hydro-Québec to develop “Northern Pass,” a direct current, 1,200-MW transmission line to import low-carbon power from Canada to New England. PSNH’s Clean Air scrubber project to reduce mercury and sulfur dioxide emissions at Merrimack Station in New Hampshire is 40 percent complete. Meanwhile, NU invests $1 billion to further upgrade distribution and transmission systems. NU is awarded the Edison Award by the Edison Electric Institute for the completion of NU’s southwest Connecticut transmission upgrades. NU continues to advance the New England East-West Solutions (NEEWS) family of transmission projects through the siting and permitting stages. Yankee Gas begins a $67-million project to expand gas distribution between Wallingford and Waterbury, Conn. In August, NU moves its corporate headquarters to downtown Hartford; its Berlin campus remains fully utilized by CL&P, Yankee Gas and NU’s transmission business.
2010 WMECo completes construction of its Pittsfield, Mass., solar plant. NU announces plans for a merger with NSTAR. The company becomes the title sponsor of the Northeast Utilities FIRST Connecticut Regional Robotics Competition through 2012 as the result of a three-year, $300,000 grant from the NU Foundation. In June, Jeffrey D. Butler is named president and chief operating officer of CL&P, replacing Raymond P. Necci, who retired after 33 years with the company. In October, NU and NSTAR announce a merger to create a larger, stronger and more diversified regulated utility with 3.5 million electric and gas customers, and nearly 4,500 miles of electric transmission lines, 72,000 miles of electric distribution lines and 6,000 miles of gas distribution lines. NU is recognized as one of the ten best companies in the country for its support of the arts.
2011 In February, FERC approved terms for the commercial use of the proposed Northern Pass transmission project. Potential border crossings routes between New Hampshire and Québec are identified but are withdrawn two months later due to public input; development of a new route continues. In May, WMECo breaks ground on its second solar facility, the 2.2-MW Indian Orchard plant, on a remediated brownfield in Springfield, Mass. In March, the NU merger with NSTAR is overwhelmingly approved by shareholders of both companies and the companies comply with a new regulatory standard for merger review in Massachusetts. In June, Connecticut regulators affirm they do not have the authority to review the merger and evidentiary hearings begin in Massachusetts the following month. In August, CL&P unveils its first installation of a municipal electric vehicle charging station in Westport as part of its comprehensive study of plug-in car recharging. On August 28, Tropical Storm Irene makes landfall in New England and cuts power to a then-record 670,000 of CL&P’s 1.2 million customers. WMECo restores 36,000 customers in two days and PSNH restores 125,000 within 72 hours. However, it would take an army of CL&P and contractor and mutual aide crews nine days to complete the Connecticut restoration. That effort is dwarfed weeks later by an October 29 snowstorm that dumps heavy wet snow on green trees still laden with leaves, causing catastrophic damage. At the peak, more than 830,000 CL&P customers – almost 70 percent – and 150,000 of WMECo’s 270,000 customers lose power. WMECo customers are restored by November 6. But in Connecticut, the largest restoration effort in NU history restoration, with 2,300 line and tree crews, still requires 11 days to restore power in the hardest hit areas. Remarkably, no one is seriously injured in either of the major storm restorations. But, in the aftermath, CL&P’s response is reviewed, CL&P President Jeff Butler resigns, changes are made in CL&P’s emergency preparedness organization, and customers who lost power for a week or more are offered bill credits. The storms also contribute to delays in the merger proceedings in Massachusetts; the merger is now expected to close in the first quarter of 2012 instead of by year end.
2012 Northeast Utilities closes its merger with NSTAR of Massachusetts, creating one of the nation’s largest utilities, with 9,300 employees serving 3.5 million customers through six regulated electric and gas utilities in three states. Northeast Utilities adopts dual headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut, and Boston, Massachusetts.

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