Government Administration and Elections Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS DATA SHARING.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Government Administration and Elections Committee
REASONS FOR BILL:
The reason for this bill is to aid in the sharing of GIS data information between utility companies, municipalities, and government agencies.
The substitute language (LCO 2913) strikes section 1(a) and replaces it with “For purposes of this section, “regional planning agency” and “regional council of elected officials” have the same meaning as in section 4-124i of the general statutes, “regional council of governments” has the same meaning as “council” in section 4-124i of the general statutes and “electric company” and “electric distribution company” have the same meaning as in section 16-1 of the general statutes.”
In section 1(b) after the word “governments,” in line 18, the original bill is deleted and replaced with “an electric company or election distribution company shall provide to any such analyst, coordinator or official any geographic information systems or geospatial information systems data for such electric or electric distribution company's service area identifying utility pole data for poles owned or jointly owned by such company. Such data shall include pole ownership, identification number, XY coordinate location, pole height, pole classification and wattage size of street lights or post lights for such municipality or for the area served by such regional planning agency, regional council of elected officials or regional council of governments.”
The substitute language adds (c) which allows for a municipality to request accounts that are coded by companies for medical hardship.
The substitute language also adds (d) which requires municipalities or other agents to demonstrate that it has implemented appropriate procedures to protect confidentiality prior to the receipt of any data. This data is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Jeffrey S. Bolton, Supervising Environmental Analyst, Connecticut Department of Construction Services
Mr. Bolton supports this bill. “The sharing of critical infrastructure GIS data, such as electric utility data and other utility data, has always been a dilemma within the State of Connecticut. As it has been documented, both in our assessment and the Two STORM Panel work, the sharing of this type of information has endless benefits and applications from conducting quicker damage assessments at the local, regional, and state levels, coordination between utility crews and municipal crews for prioritizing responses, to ultimately improving sharing of automated data gathering and analysis.”
Beth Stewart-Kelley CT State Military Department Analyst/ GIS
Ms. Stewart-Kelley supports this legislation. “The data that was needed from the utility companies for distribution and outage locations was not easily retrievable or not available at all. I am for passing SB 426 so the utility companies will share their data and to prevent worst case scenarios in the future.”
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Liz Crutcher, GIS Coordinator Southeastern CT Council of Governments
Ms. Crutcher supports this bill. “I am asking you to support this bill not only as a resident of East Haven, CT but also as the GIS Coordinator for the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments. As GIS Coordinator for these towns I have firsthand knowledge about the importance of being able to integrate this valuable electronic data set with existing mapping information used by municipalities and organizations involved in storm recovery and emergency planning.”
Stephen Lowery, Zoning/Wetlands Agent and GIS Operator, Town Of Tolland
Mr. Lowery supports this bill. “CL&P spent a lot of time 'assessing the damage' before they even started to repair the damage. Town road crews were out moving around town soon after the snow stopped falling and the sun came up. These municipal employees could have accomplished quite a bit of CL&P's initial damage assessment. If the towns had some of CL&P's GIS layers, CL&P could have gotten mapped data, by pole number: where poles were broken, where transformers were damaged, where lines were down, where trees blocked the roads and would hinder repairs.”
Michael E. Licata, Fire Marshal, Town of Windham
Mr. Licata states that “I am in favor of the bill. Knowing some of the difficulties of the past two (2) events (Irene and Alfred), the information that this bill would provide would make everybody's life easier.”
Joe Sastre, Director, Groton Office of Emergency Management
Mr. Sastre stands in support of S.B. 426. “The utility companies have been concerned (rightfully so) that the information describing the utility infrastructure could be utilized by individuals bent on damaging utility services to their communities. At the same time we, local emergency response officials and our utility companies, have struggled to exchange information in order to restore services following an event due to the lack of being able converse using a common language. Where local officials deal with street and neighborhood names, the utilities speak in terms of circuits. Having the ability to add their GIS information to our local GIS files will enable us to identify service outage areas and locations more effectively in order to coordinate response and keep our citizens updated on restoration efforts.”
Paul Milositz, Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director, Town of Wilton
Mr. Milositz noted his support for this bill. “As the Fire Chief for the Wilton Fire Department and the Emergency Management Director for the Town of Wilton, it is my professional opinion that the requirement for electric companies to provide this simple GIS data of their infrastructure to the municipalities would prove immensely helpful during all phases of storm and disaster response and recovery efforts.”
Richard Gallacher, GIS Coordinator, Town of Manchester
Mr. Gallacher supports this bill. “GIS has been used at the town of Manchester for over ten years and when accurate and clear information needs to be disseminated quickly to make fast and reliable decisions, there simply is not a better tool.”
Meghan McGaffin, GIS Analyst, City of Milford
Ms. McGaffin supports this bill. She states “Despite the two storms and costs of an impending merger, in 2011 Northeast utilities earned $395 million in profits, about $33 million a month. It is my opinion that since CT customers have paid for pole data to be collected with their electricity bills and that a portion of that data would be very useful for their government to use then government should be able to access that data. Duplicating that effort and incurring that cost redundancy doesn't make fiscal sense.”
Peter R. Hugret, Director Information Technology, Town of Branford
Mr. Hugret supports this bill for the reasons lists above.
John Hangen, GIS Coordinator, City of Milford
Mr. Hangen supports this legislation because it is a mutually beneficial proposal. “In providing the pole GIS data for our entire City, the electric company will facilitate our ability to report problems with increased timeliness and accuracy.”
Mr. Perry supports this bill for the reasons stated above.
Marc Tate, Director, Emergency Management, Town of North Stonington
Mr. Tate supports this bill for the reasons stated above.
Thad J Dymkowski, GIS Technician, Town of Newington, and President, Connecticut GIS User to User Network
Mr. Dymkowski supports this bill for the reasons stated above, but notes that many municipalities and regional planning agencies use private forms to provide them with GIS services. He recommends including language in the bill that takes this into consideration.
Scott Roberts. Director of Information, Town of South Windsor and Vice President, CT Chapter, Government Management Information Science
Mr. Roberts supports this bill for the reasons stated above.
Joseph Thomas, Vice president, Electric System Operations and Client Fulfillment, United Illuminating Company
Mr. Thomas stated that United Illuminating supports this bill, but is concerned that they may not be able to make the January 2013 timeline.
Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association
CCAPA supports this bill. “Recent emergencies in Connecticut have demonstrated the need for better coordination of information among all responsible entities, both for emergency planning and emergency response.”
Colleen M. Murphy, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Freedom Of Information Commission
The Freedom of Information Commission support this bill, but are opposed to section (d) of the substitute language which exempts GIS information from the Freedom of Information Act. Ms. Murphy stated “the FOIC respectfully submits that this wholesale exemption is both unnecessary and contrary to notions of government transparency and requests that this portion of the bill be stricken.”
Greg Sullivan, GIS Coordinator, Town of Greenwich
Mr. Sullivan supports this legislation for the reasons stated above.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Reported by: Tom Shields
Date: 4/18/ 2012