CVPS completes Readsboro Electric purchase

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first_imgCentral Vermont Public Service (NYSE-CV) has completed the purchase of the Town of Readsboro’s franchise territory and electric department assets.  The $360,000 deal includes about 14 miles of distribution line and associated equipment, and the exclusive franchise Readsboro held to serve its 330 customers.  The purchased assets also include Readsboro’s small ownership interest in Vermont’s high-voltage transmission company, specifically 133 shares of VELCO stock and 9,651 shares of Vermont Transco.‘Readsboro customers will fit perfectly into our southern Vermont territory,’ CVPS President Larry Reilly said.  ‘We have two operations centers within proximity to the town, and we serve most of the surrounding territory.‘CVPS will be able to offer most customers lower rates, new services and rate choices, top-notch customer service, and award-winning operations.  This is a nice addition to our customer base.’Among the service offerings are CVPS Electripay, an automated bill payment program; on-line bill review; CVPS Cow Powerâ ¢; even monthly billing; Speedpay, an on-line payment program; and service guarantees for everything from bill accuracy to on-time appointments.CVPS’s rates have been generally lower than Readsboro’s rates; the typical customer will see a rate decrease of about 0.32 percent in their first CV bills. The Vermont Public Service Board approved the sale on July 8. Town voters approved the sale of the Readsboro Electric Department in March 2010. Selectmen had attempted to sell the utility for several years, but voters twice rejected the idea, the last time by just a handful of votes in 2009.  Under the agreement, CVPS will reimburse Readsboro for half of its reasonable legal fees and expenses related to this transaction.CVPS, founded in 1929 through the consolidation of eight electric companies, now includes territory once served by more than 100 different companies.  CVPS is listed by Forbes magazine as one of the most trustworthy companies in America. CVPS is in the process of being bought by GazMetro and merged into one company with Green Mountain Power. GazMetro, from Quebec, owns GMP and Vermont Gas Systems. The merger is expected to be completed by mid-2012.last_img read more

Coal presence in climate funds ‘points to need for more ESG oversight’

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first_imgInfluenceMap analysed 118 funds marketed as free from fossil fuels or otherwise climate-relatedHowever, it also found 22 climate-themed funds exposed to fossil fuels. In addition, InfluenceMap said, the aggregate thermal coal intensity for the 118 funds was roughly equivalent to that of the iShares MSCI World exchange-traded fund.The think tank said its research pointed to the need for greater oversight of the climate-themed and broader ESG investment sector in relation to how funds and their impacts were marketed and described.“Efforts under way within the EU, including its taxonomy framework and application of the EU Ecolabel to financial products, aim to do just this,” said InfluenceMap.It also proposed the development of “a pathway for discerning and regulating the impact of these funds on the real economy and on actual emissions reductions, particularly as several pieces of research cited in this report indicate real world impact is a key motivator for investors in climate and ESG funds”. The organisation noted that many climate-themed funds remained invested in fossil fuel companies and pursued engagement with them in a bid to drive positive change in the world. Report ‘misses important nuances’: State StreetTwo of the funds covered by InfluenceMap’s analysis are State Street funds with “fossil fuel reserves free” in their name: SPDR MSCI EAFE Fossil Fuel Reserves Free ETF and SPDR MSCI Emerging Markets Fossil Fuel Reserves Free ETF.The think tank said they “contained fossil fuel reserves” through holdings in companies including energy corporate RWE and mining company Vale.According to Matthew Bartolini, head of SPDR America Research at State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), InfluenceMap’s report “misses some of the most important nuances in the nomenclature relating to addressing carbon in portfolios”.“As we continually perform range management and ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose, we continuously provide feedback to our partners on clients’ needs,” Bartolini said.“As a result, based on their own consultations, MSCI, the index provider, will implement changes to the MSCI ex Fossil Fuels indices as part of a November 2019 semi-annual index review that addresses some of the more stock-specific nuances of companies residing in a low-carbon industry.”Pure metallurgical coal companies would still not be excluded, however, Bartolini said, as this “reflects the current nomenclature and reinforces the nuances associated with ESG”.In its report, InfluenceMap said that the use of indices to construct climate-themed funds was likely to be “a significant driver of the presence of companies controlling fossil fuel reserves”. According to InfluenceMap, many asset managers selling climate funds “appear to have actively eliminated companies controlling fossil fuel reserves from their funds”.  The presence of companies with coal mining activity in climate-themed funds suggests the need for greater oversight of the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) fund sector, a climate change-focused non-profit organisation has argued. London-based InfluenceMap identified and analysed 118 climate-themed funds marketed to retail investors, examining the presence of what it referred to as “fossil fuel reserves” owned by companies held in the funds. The think tank said that, although fossil fuel companies were not necessarily barred from climate-themed funds for legal or other reasons, “it is reasonable to assume that purchasers of such funds would expect exposure to fossil fuel reserves within the funds to be minimised in line with the manner in which the funds are named and described in the fund marketing materials”.Policymakers in the EU were anticipating that such funds would both meet buyers’ expectations as well as “drive genuine impacts in the real economy”, it added.center_img Index provider MSCI is to make changes to its fossil fuel exclusion indices in November“It should be noted,” it added, “that most of the climate-themed funds connected to S&P and MSCI indices identified as containing fossil fuels are ‘optimised’ with respect to the method by which they track their affiliated index.“Given that the degree of input implied by ‘optimisation’ is variable, it is uncertain whether the inclusion of fossil fuel holdings in the index funds originates with the fund manager or the index provider.”Nathalie Wallace, global head of ESG investment strategy at SSGA, told IPE that in the financial world, fossil fuel reserves was understood as a reference to the oil and gas sector.“Thermal coal is embedded in our data providers under brown revenues, which includes all extractive industries that have a high pollution or high carbon emission output.”She added: “What we see is that everybody is looking at climate and asking what the funds are doing. If we only target one fund then you come to the conclusion that it’s not delivering on the promise to save the planet, but what we do is address different climate challenges with different products that respond to demand from clients.”Thomas O’Neill, co-founder and research director at InfluenceMap, said: “Coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change and investors and the public alike would reasonably expect that a fossil-free fund does not contain coal. “Our data shows that certain asset managers will need to greatly improve their climate offerings or risk losing the trust of increasingly engaged investors.”Earlier this week the European Commission approved an asset swap between RWE and E.ON that RWE said would make it “one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies”. It said it would focus primarily on electricity production based on renewables. The utility also mines coal in Germany.last_img read more