OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING COORDINATION OF LOW-INCOME ENERGY PROGRAMS.
This bill requires the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) to conduct a proceeding, by June 30, 2010, on developing discounted gas and electric rates for low-income customers.
The bill requires DPUC to (1) coordinate resources and programs for these customers, to the extent practicable; (2) develop discounted rates that take into account the indigency of poor people and allow their households to meet the costs of essential energy needs; and (3) analyze the benefits and anticipated costs of these rates.
DPUC must order each gas and electric company to file proposed rates consistent with its decision in the proceeding within 60 days after issuing it. It must appropriately modify existing low-income programs, including the matching payment program.
The bill requires each company to conduct outreach to make its discounted rates available to eligible customers. They must report to DPUC at least annually regarding their outreach activities and the results.
Gas and electric companies must include the cost of discounted rates and outreach activities in the rates charged to all other customers. For electric companies, the costs must be recovered through the existing systems benefits charge on a semiannual basis. For gas companies, the costs must be recovered through a public benefits charge developed and approved by DPUC, also on a semiannual basis.
The bill requires DPUC, by July 1, 2011, to report to the Energy and Technology Committee on the benefits and costs of the discounted rates and any recommended modifications to them. It also requires DPUC to adopt implementing regulations.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage
The proceeding must at least review
the availability of rate discounts for individuals who receive state or federal assistance through any electricity purchasing pool operated by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM)
1. energy assistance benefits,
2. conservation assistance available from electric and gas company programs,
3. assistance funded or administered by the Department of Social Services or OPM,
4. renewable energy resource assistance from the Clean Energy Fund, or
5. matching payment program benefits available from electric and gas companies.
The law required OPM to open the state purchasing pool to individuals receiving state or federal assistance, but OPM has been unable to find a willing supplier.
sHB 6536, favorably reported by the Energy and Technology Committee, includes similar provisions.
Energy and Technology Committee
Joint Favorable Substitute