PURA: CT Recovery

State of Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control
State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program

In response to the Notice of Funds Availability published in the Federal Register on July 8, 2009, the Department submitted a grant application for consideration under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (SBDD), for both the broadband mapping and planning function on August 13, 2009. The Department, pursuant to Governor Rell’s Executive Order 32-A, had been designated as the single Connecticut state entity eligible to apply for funds under this program. On January 13, 2010, the NTIA awarded the State $1,833,769 in federal share, matched by $458,442 in state costs, for a total grant expenditure estimate of $2,292,211. On September 28, 2010, the NTIA awarded the State an additional $1,949,169 in federal share, matched by $565,004 in state costs, for a total grant expenditure estimate of $2,514,173. Both awards combined total $3,782,938 in federal share, matched by $1,023,454 in state costs for total grant expenditure estimate of $4,806,392.

The vast majority of this federal award will go toward the broadband mapping project. Specifically, this involves routinely collecting geographic information system (GIS) data from all of the broadband providers in the state, processing the data, and putting it in a standardized format that will eventually produce a uniform statewide electronic map identifying where broadband service exists in Connecticut, along with associated speeds and technology types. The Department has contracted with a GIS consultant, Applied Geographics, Inc., who will be performing the majority of the technical operations of these tasks. The data used to construct this state map may also be used toward the ultimate development of a national broadband map. Part of the project also involves identifying the location and connectivity of the state’s community anchor institutions (CAIs) such as school, libraries, hospitals, and emergency response organizations. Knowing this information will help the state apply for funding in separate broadband initiatives. Finally, approximately $500,000 of the award is set aside for such broadband strategic planning activities for the state

The DPUC, working with its consultant, Applied Geographics, continues to collect and verify data in its SBDD program. We have already completed two rounds of data collection and are pleased to report participation from all 23 of the state’s largest broadband providers. Project management, data processing, accuracy and validation checks, and data reporting are all tasks on the DPUC and Applied Geographics activity ledger for this past quarter. The DPUC, working with its GIS vendor, Applied Geographics, and other state agencies, especially the Department of Information Technology (DOIT), has continued to use SBDD data collected and verified to support the creation of a web portal for broadband providers and CAIs to update data on services (speeds) and geographic information. The DPUC has assisted in continuing to gather data from parties who may not yet be fully participating in the SBDD effort, such as some municipalities in CT. The DPUC's vendor has also worked with the DOIT in designing the statewide broadband website and entered into the construction phase of the website.

A principal attorney from the CT Office of Consumer Counsel ("OCC") has been designated as program manager for the strategic planning components of this initiative. The program manager has contracted with the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) to assist in developing a five-year strategic broadband plan for the state of Connecticut to meet the demands of the changing technological environment in maintaining and supporting greater broadband accessibility in the state.

Department of Public Utility Control – State Regulatory Assistance Grant

On August 31, 2009, the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) was notified of its receipt of award of a State Regulatory Assistance grant of $839,241 (award number DE-OE-000056) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The award, provided through the United States Department of Energy, is for a three year period with an official start date of November 1, 2009.

The objectives of this grant are to increase the capacity of the DPUC to manage a potentially significant increase in regulatory activity resulting from the following electricity related topical areas:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Renewable Energy
  • Energy Storage
  • Smart Grid
  • Plug-in Electric Vehicles
  • Demand Response

The intent is to also increase agency staff’s capacity to engage in electricity system modernization, allow for regulatory support in the transformation of the electric grid and facilitate timely consideration of dockets and other regulatory actions pertaining to the above listed areas.

The grant allowed for the DPUC to hire two full time positions in the Electric Unit to meet these objectives. A Finance Specialist and a Utilities Examiner were hired on July 2, 2010. These employees have engaged in a number of proceedings at the agency relating to Conservation & Load Management, Smart Meters, Clean Energy Options Program and Renewable Energy Credits. The agency is weighing the merits of hiring a part time clerical position at this time. Training in the above mentioned topical areas for new and existing employees is a further condition of the grant and will be an ongoing process.