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State Senator

John Fonfara

Deputy Majority Leader

Representing Hartford & Wethersfield

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Contact: Dave Steuber
860-240-8616

March 22, 2011

Energy Committee Approves Sweeping Reform—Senate Bill 1

Bill envisions a new energy future for Connecticut

Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford) and Rep. Vickie O. Nardello (D-Prospect), Co-Chairs of the General Assembly’s Energy & Technology Committee, offered thoughts this afternoon on a new direction in energy policy for Connecticut as the committee voted 14 to 4 to approve Senate Bill 1, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Energy Future.

“This legislation will chart a new course for energy policy in Connecticut, creating new economic opportunities in the clean energy industry and cost savings through energy efficiency for residential and commercial electric ratepayers,” said Senator Fonfara. “This year we will create the first state agency since the 1970’s dedicated to both formulating and implementing energy policy for Connecticut. With a new agency and a new policy direction, we will make Connecticut a national leader in developing and adopting innovative energy technologies.”

“Connecticut must move quickly to lower our electric rates, which are some of the highest in the nation,” said Rep. Nardello. “This bill will lower rates by improving the way power is purchased for standard offer service electric customers. It will also direct our new energy agency to closely scrutinize Connecticut’s electric system and make recommendations for further savings.”

Senate Bill 1 seeks to reform energy policy in Connecticut to lower energy costs for homes and businesses, move our economy toward clean energy, create jobs and make Connecticut a world leader in energy technology by fostering the growth of energy businesses and jobs.

In conjunction with HB 6386, the legislation calls for the creation of a new Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), dedicated to both formulating and implementing energy policy for Connecticut.

Senate Bill 1 then directs the new DEEP to examine several aspects of Connecticut’s electric system, including the state’s relationship with ISO New England, an entity created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that controls and monitors the operation of electric markets in the region.

ISO’s Market Rule 1 imposes artificial restrictions on the market for electricity, requiring that all electric generators be paid at the same rate as the most expensive generators that operate on any given day. This often results in many generators being paid greatly in excess of their operating expenses, at a high cost to all electric ratepayers. The legislation asks DEEP to assess the burden of this regulation on ratepayers, and make recommendations for improved policy to lower electric rates.

Further provisions of Senate Bill 1 will:

  • Create a Procurement Manager at DEEP to buy power more flexibly for standard offer service utility customers, resulting in lower electric rates
  • Establish a fund outside of ratepayer dollars for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
  • Spur growth in CT based solar generation, with a legally capped impact on ratepayers
  • Provide low cost financing for energy efficiency improvements like new boilers and furnaces
  • Create innovation hubs for energy research and technology development at Connecticut universities
  • Implement protections for consumers in the electric supplier market
  • Set up a one-stop shop for businesses at DEEP for all energy programs and incentives
  • Reach out proactively to Connecticut’s highest energy using businesses to help increase efficiency and lower their energy costs

Senate Bill 1 now moves to the floor of the Senate, where it will await further action. The 2011 regular legislative session ends June 8, 2011.

 

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Dave Steuber
860-240-8616

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Room 3900
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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