by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike
On Feb. 24 (as PAR goes to print), the Energy and Technology Committee of the CT State Legislature held public hearings on a number of bills. At least six bills were scheduled about capping or lowering the fixed customer charge. Since many different legislators submitted bills on the same topic, the concern of customers from around the state was heard and there is good chance the bills will be merged and go before the general assembly.
Why cap the base rate? If ratepayers conserve but still have ever-rising bills because of the base rate, all the advantages of efficiency, conservation or using solar won’t necessarily result in lower costs. Here are the different bills on this one issue: 5281 (441), 5402 (673), 6014 (1553), 6029 (1811), 570 (2226), 574 (2402). The CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs has worked on getting the rate capped for months. You can contact the organizer John Humphries for updates: firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 216-7972.
Other bills scheduled were to ban variable electric rates, Bill 573 (2222); to improve transparency and increase opportunities for public comment on proposed changes in electric rates, Bill 575 (2235); have the tax on electric bills itemized on the monthly bills, Bill 625 (2293); require the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to develop policies to lower electric rates, Bill 728 (1668); prohibit companies from raising electric rates to cover costs of repairs from actual or anticipated storm damage, Bill 5019 (11); for every five days of power outage, customers to be credited with one day of service, Bill 6013 (510); public service companies prioritize restoration of services for customers with disabilities, Bill 6018 (2706); establish a cap for electric rates and have more public hearings on the rate-making process, Bill 6019 (2686); improve the microgrid development, Bill 6027 (1803).
Written testimony can be sent in up to a week AFTER the hearing. E-mail testimony to email@example.com. Or write to: Energy and Technology Committee
Legislative Office Building, Room 3900
Hartford, CT 06106
It’s not too early to let your legislators know what you think about these bills. Phone numbers for state senators and representatives are in the box on page 6. The website of the Energy and Technology Committee is www.cga.ct.gov/et/.