Energy and Technology Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-570

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIC FIXED BILL FEES AND GRID MODERNIZATION.

Vote Date:

3/24/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/24/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

ENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

SEN MARTIN M. LOONEY, 11TH DIST.

SEN. BOB DUFF, 25TH DIST.

SEN. DANTE BARTOLOMEO, 13TH DIST.

SEN. STEVE CASSANO.4TH DIST.

SEN. ERIC D. COLEMAN, 2ND DIST

SEN.JOSEPH J. CRISCO, 17TH DIST.

SEN MAE FLEXER, 29TH DIST.

SEN TERRY B GERRATANA, 6TH DIST.

SEN. MARILYN MOORE, 22ND DIST.

SEN. CATHERINE A. OSTEN, 19TH DIST.

SEN GARY A. WINFIELD, 10TH DIST.

REP ROBERTA B WILLIS, 64TH DIST

REP PHILIP J. MILLER, 36TH DIST

REP. DAVID ZONI, 81ST DIST

REP. THERESA W. CONROY, 105TH DIST.

REP. LONNIE REED, 102ND DIST

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill is in regards to concern over electric fixed bill fees and the subsequent grid modernization. The legislation calls to modernize the electric grid, generate a methodology to gain distributed energy resources, initiate a distributed energy resource grid integration pilot program, compel the public disclosure of the circuit map of the electric distribution system, alleviate areas of electric distribution system congestion, promote and incentivize the conservation of electricity and provide associated savings to ratepayers by reducing and capping the electric distribution companies' residential fixed charge.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Testimony of Elin Swanson Katz:

On behalf of the Consumer Counsel

Ms. Katz supports the intent of this bill. Katz reinforces to hold a ten dollar cap on the residential fixed customer distribution charge. Ms. Katz claims in a recent case regarding CL&P, an inordinate increase in consumer charge diminishes the control the subsequent consumer has. Ms. Katz issues an alternative process in which language be introduced to initiate a category of cost in a fixed customer charge.

Testimony of Lynn Stoddard

On behalf of Eastern Connecticut State University

Supports the bill citing high rates and disincentive for energy efficiency.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Testimony of Senator Martin M. Looney

On behalf of the 11th District

Senator Looney supports this bill citing the flat fees are entirely regressive. He issues that neighboring states have a nearly 100% decrease in rates and generally range under $10 dollars. With the instate charges, it also defers ratepayers to conserve energy.

Testimony of Mayor Bill Finch

On behalf of the City of Bridgeport

Mayor Finch supports this bill, citing his signature of BGreen2020 as the main focal point. His program materialized into an eco-technology park, which has created hundreds of jobs and made developing clean energy a priority. He also feels this needs to be mandated.

Testimony of Represnetative Phil Miller

On behalf of the 36th District

Rep. Miller supports the stating this is a way to lower cost and conserve energy solutions

Testimony of Judith Allen

Ms. Allen is in support of this bill because of the general high fixed charge Connecticut residents currently face. In addition, a high fixed charge works against the state's commitment to energy efficiency and solar programs. Therefore, those who are energy efficient properties should not have a higher fixed charge and thus should be lowered.

Testimony of Andy Bauer

On behalf of Portland Clean Energy Task Force

Mr. Bauer and his organization unanimously support this bill. Mr. Bauer finds the drastic increase of fixed rates by Connecticut Utilities “disturbing” and an unnecessary course of action. Therefore, a new model should be adopted by a Connecticut utility to alter this plan or not be enacted at all.

Testimony of Jeremy Brecher

On behalf of Labor Network for Sustainability

Mr. Beacher supports this bill. He believes the platform of Connecticut's one-way electric system is now obsolete. Instead, the model should have contributions made by conservation, renewables, micro-grids, and other upgrades to the electric system so it can be installed. To institute less of a demand needed by large power plants for electricity would aide in this system to be put in place.

Testimony of Clean Water

Clean Water and its customers support this bill because of its focus to reduce energy cost, focus on renewables. It will be more environmentally friendly.

Testimony of Dr. Anthony Dominski

Dr. Dominski supports this bill to lessen the overall cost on ratepayers and provide a more efficient platform for all consumers, regardless of usage.

Testimony of Dennis Donovan

Supports the bill and believes a set charge should be put in place. The damage on the elderly and families with fixed incomes is too costly.

Testimony of William E. Dornbos Senior Attorney

Connecticut Director Acadia Center

Mr. Dornbos supports this legislation. Dornbos claims a higher rate subsequently leads to less control by the Connecticut consumer. A high fixed charge also discourages a customer from investing in clean energy, such as residential solar.

Testimony of Beverly Dunn

On behalf of CT Citizen Action Group

Ms. Dunn supports the bill citing that state residents pay a rate that is one of the highest in the region. In addition, the rate increase is bad for households reliant on low income and a burden on the elderly. It also causes a detriment to energy efficiency and solar programs.

Testimony of Teresa Eickel

On behalf of Interreligious Eco-Justice Network

Ms. Eickel testified on this bill in support. If this bill was not passed, Ms. Eickel believes ratepayers would not invest in clean energy programs and be placed in an already high electric rate. Ms. Eickel cites ratepayers who struggle to find sufficient jobs and income to support families will only make this challenge harder if not cemented into legislation.

Testimony of John Erlingheuser

On behalf of Advocacy Director AARP

Mr. Erlinghesuer strongly supports this bill on behalf of himself and AARP. Mr. Erlingheuser specifically states rate hikes will give less control to all residents, it will especially hurt the elderly and could harm their health and safety.

Testimony of Judi Friedman

On behalf of People's Action for Clean Energy Inc.

Mr. Friedman supports this bill, along with her organization. She cites an already high rate and a burden on low income families as her main argument. Her goal would be to reward those who use clean energy efficiently rather than cripple them with more cost.

Testimony of John Humphries

On behalf of CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

Mr. Humphries supports the bill to lower the cost on citizens and increase a priority on clean energy solutions. This suggestion would allow ratepayers to adjust focus in investing in clean energy programs.

Testimony of Regina and Dominic Ippolito

Both support this bill citing already high cost

Testimony of Arthur B. Israel

Israel supports this bill referring to the already high cost put on by Eversource and United Illuminating on their customers.

Testimony of David Johnson

Supports this bill stating higher fixed charges effectively penalize ratepayers who use less electricity.

Testimony of James King

On behalf of Connecticut Industrial Energy Consumers

Mr. King supports this bill citing the state's position both domestically and globally on economic platforms only pours more burdens onto a ratepayer. Fall outs of this include the loss of manufacturing businesses and their coinciding jobs.

Testimony of Patricia Kohl

Ms. Kohl supports this bill citing high rates work against the state's loyalty to commit to energy efficiency and solar programs.

Testimony of Jane Latus

Ms. Latus supports this bill citing high rates work against the state's loyalty to commit to energy efficiency and solar programs.

Testimony of Raphael L. Podolsky

On behalf of Legal Assistance Resource Center

Podolosky supports this bill citing the disproportional rise of fixed charges on ratepayers in the state.

Testimony of Henry S. Lowendorf

Mr. Lowendorf supports the bill, stating it encourages market and solar penetration

Testimony of Martin Mador

On behalf of the Sierra Club

Mr. Mador and his orgnaization endorse this bill. He addresses that using more or less of the same electrical service without any incentive of doing the right thing is destructive. It would thus turn people away from using clean energy resources.

Testimony of Steven Manicastri and Heidi Obach and Todd Vachon

On behalf of Uconn Graduate Employee Union

Supports the bill. The legislation would ease the strain on low income residents and focus more on clean energy solutions.

Testimony of Ben Martin

Supports bill stating it will lower cost and conserve energy solutions

Testimony of Elaine Moreland

Supports bill stating it will lower cost and conserve energy solutions

Testimony of Carole Osborn

Supports the bill citing cost of living would be impossible to maintain given subsequent rate hikes

Testimony of Lori Pelletier

On behalf of Connecticut AFL-CIO

Supports the bill to lower the cap because of high region rates and the conservation of energy.

Testimony of Christopher Phelps

On behalf of Environment Connecticut

Mr. Phelps supports the bill, issuing that lower costs won't deter owners from converting to more efficient energy solution resources. Mr. Phelps also cites the disproportion in those who use less energy yet pay the same rate as consumers who might use more.

Testimony of Mike Poulin

Mr. Poulin strongly supports this bill, citing rates are already extremely high after heavy usage from a cold winter.

Testimony of Evan Preston

On behalf of ConnPirg

Supports the bill. He believes the measures would improve Connecticut's market for electricity by restoring fairness to consumers who conserve energy as well as those who improve their energy efficiency.

Testimony of Edward Sarisley and David Schonfeld

Supports the bill due to already high fixed costs and lack of commitment to energy efficiency.

Testimony of Mark Scully

Supports the bill. He cites by shifting rates from variable to fixed, Eversource will lower the marginal cost of electricity, thereby encouraging higher consumption and inefficiency. Higher fixed rates will discourage the growth of distributed renewable generation, notably solar.

Testimony of Jennifer Siskind

Supports the bill citing difficulty for low income families. Ms. Siskind also sees energy solutions by ratepayers and small businesses are rewarded and not penalized.

Testimony of Shannon Smyth

On behalf of Energy and Environment

Smyth supports this bill regarding fix charges dissolve the need to use clean energy. Utilities will be able to recover their allowed revenue through the volumetric or per kilowatt hour distribution charge and not be affected. Ms. Smyth also issues the standard high region rates and the unfairness of responsible usage by ratepayers in reasoning.

Testimony of Lynn Stoddard

On behalf of Eastern Connecticut State University

Supports the bill citing high rates and disincentive for energy efficiency.

Testimony of Roland Therrian

Supports bill to lower cost and conserve energy solutions.

Testimony of Michael S. Williams

Supports bill to lower cost and conserve energy solutions.

Testimony of William B. Upholt

Supports bill to lower cost and conserve energy solutions.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Testimony of Eric Brown

On behalf of Connecticut Business and Industry Association

Mr. Brown opposes this bill claiming that capping the fixed rate portion of the bill will not reduce these energy costs – it will only shift costs through legislative action which does not consider how or where those lost dollars will have to be made-up. Maintaining a resilient infrastructure here in the state is essential to keep a satisfactory product to the consumer. The plan should not cap one component and leave the lost fee's to be supplemented at another variable rate

Testimony of Michael A. Coretto V.P.

On behalf of UIL Holdings Corporation

Mr. Coretto stands by the current rate process and views it as fair and open. Furthermore, the cost shift between customers disproportions ratepayers and does not serve the greater good of all parties involved.

Testimony of Elizabeth Gara

On behalf of Connecticut Water Works Association

Ms. Gara opposes this bill summoning that the restrictions would create a difficult precedent for companies to abide by. The bill will undermine PURA and other programs in making a choice for each consumer.

Testimony of Stephen Gibelli and Edward Davis

On behalf of Eversource

Mr. Gibelli and Mr. Davis testified in opposition of this bill. Both cite the use of rates is not always low in relation to one's income. Therefore, it would have little or no effect on lowering a household's electric bill. The lowering would also not conflict with energy consumption based on statistical data and be just leveled onto other programs.

Reported by: Michael Costeines

Date: 4/2/15