As Connecticut residents are now learning, one of the primary speakers on a recent Northeast Utilities/UBS Wall Street conference call with more than 150 analysts, stock brokers and investors was Connecticut’s Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection.
The issue was the development of a new set of electric transmission lines that would allow Canadian company, Hydro-Quebec, to deliver its electricity to southern New England, providing Hydro-Quebec and Northeast Utilities with hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue and hopefully lowering electric rates for Connecticut consumers.
According the CTNewsjunkie, “Malloy said he read the transcript of Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty’s call with UBS investors and saw nothing wrong with what he said…’I read the entirety of the transcript,’ Malloy said. ‘Everything he said there he’s said elsewhere. Almost everything he said I’ve said publicly time and time and time again.’”
Malloy, Esty and others have been strong supporters of Northeast Utilities and the project, but Commissioner Esty’s direct involvement in a UBS investor call generated a swift response from groups ranging from the Connecticut Citizen Action Group to the Connecticut Republican Party.
Calling for a full investigation, the chairman of the Republican Party wrote, “The first question is why did the Commissioner even participate in this call in the first place? There appears to be no State or public interest served by participating in the conference call…It appears that Commissioner Esty, who received $205,000 in consulting fees from Northeast Utilities prior to being appointed as DEEP Commissioner, was trying to curry favor with an entity that formerly employed him.”
Prior to the Republican’s call for an investigation, the CTMirror reported that “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said earlier today that it is important for him and his commissioners to be explaining public policy to the widest possible audience.”
In this case, UBS had already up-graded NU’s stock from “neutral” to a “buy.”
You can read the latest on the expanding story here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/malloy_defends_esty_canadian_hydro/ and http://www.ctmirror.org/blogs/ct-gop-chair-asks-ag-investigate-esty-investor-call and http://www.ctmirror.org/blogs/malloy-defends-esty-message-not-delivery-stock-analysts.