Energy and Technology Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-1133

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING INNOVATIVE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES.

Vote Date:

3/19/2009

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/17/2009

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Energy and Technology Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To reduce energy consumption by encouraging the use of innovative energy technologies.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal – Opposes bill. The Conservation and Load Management Fund uses electricity ratepayer dollars and funds are distributed in accordance with a plan developed by the Electricity Conservation and Load Management Board and approved by the DPUC. This bill would create an exemption or earmark for a preferred technology even if that technology does not meet the board's tough standards for return on investment or even if the application does not meet our overall state goals. “If the voltage technology in this legislation is truly efficient and beneficial, it will be funded through the ECMB. If it does not meet those goals, then the ECMB funds should be used for more efficient and effective conservation projects.”

Kevin DelGobbo, Commissioner, Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) – While the Department recognizes the laudable intent of the bill, it cannot pledge its support to programs which would drain the Conservation and Load Management Fund of its resources and that would use electric ratepayer money for purposes other than electric in nature. The Department is also concerned about the possibility that just a few technologies that would qualify under this bill might be large enough in their request to deplete the entire fund.

Mary J. Healey, Consumer Counsel, Office of Consumer Counsel – The OCC has carefully reviewed the bill and has concerns. While the bill has worthy goals, the OCC is concerned in the means used to achieve them. The Energy Conservation Management Board (ECMB), as overseen by the DPUC, has the expertise to develop an appropriate incentive for corporate purchases of qualified voltage regulation technologies. Instead of using this expertise and developing an appropriate incentive, this bill would give the corporation the voltage regulation technology for free using the limited resources of the C&LM Fund. Further concerns are that bill would allow the corporation to keep 100% of savings rather than requiring it to pay back at least some of the public's funds and ECMB is not given any say how the money for voltage regulation technologies is used and there is no cap on how much C&LM's funds could be used for these technologies. The OCC would recommend two possible alternatives – 1) revise the bill to promote a study by ECMB and/or DPUC of voltage regulation technologies if the legislature believes these are being under-utilized, or 2) this technology could be proposed under the Electric Efficiency Partners Program application process.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

None expressed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Christopher Phelps, Program Director, Environment Connecticut – This bill appears to create a new tax credit for corporations that purchase a specific technology. Section 1(c) pays for this tax credit by raiding monies from the ratepayer-supported Conservation and Load Management Fund. This fund is already over-stretched. This diversion of revenue would undercut the ability of families and businesses to reduce their energy bills by participating in efficiency programs supported by the fund and would create a poor precedent of raiding CL&M revenue for purposes potentially outside the current scope of the funds.

Reported by: Elizabeth Giannaros

Date: 3/23/09