As the legislative session winds up this week lawmakers are considering a large energy bill that combines the broad interests of diverse groups such as the AARP and the Sierra Club. The bill is designed to lower electric rates and increase renewable energy and energy efficiency in the state.
The coalition is fighting for a bill that would create new financing mechanisms to help families and businesses pay for energy efficient retrofits, including new furnaces. And it has another provision to increase solar energy for schools and other publically-owned buildings as well as businesses. But perhaps the most controversial provision calls for reorganizing the Department of Public Utility Control and creating a new division responsible for procuring the electricity customers get from CL&P and U.I. At a press conference at the Capitol, John Erlingheuser of the AARP said the goal is to reduce electric rates.
“The bill will instruct the division and the DPUC reconfiguration to come up with a plan that will reduce rates up to 15% and be able to sustain that reduction in rates for at least five years.”
Opponents to the bill, which include retail energy suppliers, say instead of reducing electric rates it would drive them up because the government would be more involved. If the bill is passed it would be the biggest change to the state’s electric market since it was deregulated 12 years ago.
For WNPR, I'm Nancy Cohen.