Green Legislation

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND PLANNING FOR CONNECTICUT'S ENERGY FUTURE:

SUMMARY:

This bill creates the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) by merging the departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Public Utility Control (DPUC). In addition to the duties and powers inherited from those departments, the bill gives DEEP new energy-related planning and oversight responsibilities and transfers various energy-related responsibilities and powers from the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to it.

Among other provisions, the bill:

1. renames the Public Utility Control Authority (the commissioners who run DPUC) the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA);

2. reduces the number of commissioners from five to three and renames them directors;

3. requires DEEP to develop a comprehensive plan integrating current efficiency and renewable energy plans;

4. requires DEEP, rather than the electric companies, to prepare the integrated resources plan (IRP), which seeks to meet electric needs through a mix of efficiency programs and power generation, and modifies the planning process;

5. requires DEEP to employ an electric power procurement manager and requires the manager, rather than the electric companies, to develop the plan for procuring power for the standard service the companies must provide to small customers who do not choose a competitive supplier;

6. modifies how this power is procured, eliminating a requirement for laddering, allowing for short term contracts, and making other changes;

7. requires electric companies and generators to notify DEEP of any prospective reliability concerns and DEEP to conduct a request for proposals (RFP) for efficiency and generation measures to avoid such problems;

8. expands the resources that can go into the Clean Energy Fund to include private capital and revenues reallocated to the fund by the legislature;

9. expands the types of projects the fund can support to include electric and natural gas vehicle infrastructure, electricity storage, and the financing of energy efficiency;

10. creates a quasi-public authority (the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority) to administer the fund, rather than Connecticut Innovations, Inc. ;

11. allows municipalities to establish a loan program to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, whose costs are recovered by an assessment on the benefitted property;

12. requires the energy efficiency and renewable energy plans developed under current law to provide equitable funding for low-income neighborhoods;

13. establishes energy efficiency standards for televisions, DVD players, and similar products and broadens circumstances when efficiency standards would be implemented for other consumer products;

14. establishes three-year pilot programs to develop combined heat and power and anaerobic digester projects and provides $ 2 million annually for each of the programs;

15. requires the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority to establish a program to promote residential photovoltaic systems under which participants can choose to receive an up-front payment or a payment tied to the power the systems produce;

16. establishes a program that requires electric companies to enter into long-term contracts to buy renewable energy credits (RECs) from zero-emission generators (e. g. , solar, wind, hydro);

17. establishes a similar program for low-emission technologies

18. requires PURA to study the feasibility of establishing discounted electric and gas rates for low-income customers by reallocating existing supports for these customers;

19. establishes a code of conduct for competitive electric suppliers, that regulates door-to-door sales, limits early termination fees, bars unfair trade practices, makes related changes and establishes civil and administrative penalties for violations;

20. requires DEEP to establish a program to finance replacement residential heating equipment that is more energy efficient than the customer's current equipment;

21. requires DEEP to develop a plan to reduce energy use in state buildings by at least 10% by 2013 and another 10% by 2018;   

22. bars electric and gas utilities from terminating service year-round to hardship customers with children under 24 months old who are hospitalized if the attending physician determines that utility service is needed for the child's well-being;  

23. allows municipal customers of electric companies to share net metering credits among buildings the municipality owns (virtual net metering);

24. explicitly authorizes state agencies and municipalities to enter into energy saving performance contracts;

25. requires the Energy Conservation Management Board to develop standardized performance contracting procedures, and authorizes municipalities to use these procedures or ones they develop themselves;   

26. modifies Green Connecticut Loan Guaranty Fund program, requires program measures to meet cost-effectiveness standards and transfers its administration to the new authority;  

27. expands evaluation requirements for efficiency programs;

28. allows electric companies to own up to 10 megawatts of renewable energy generating capacity; and

29. requires DEEP to conduct a number of studies.

It makes minor changes to energy related statutes and numerous conforming and technical changes (§§ 2, 9-13, 18, 19, 21, 24-26, 28, 29, 31, 34-36, 38-40, 54, 57-79, 81-87, 119, 134, 135, and 140), and repeals obsolete provisions of the energy statutes.

*Senate Amendment “A” (1) prescribes the experience required of the DEEP procurement manager and (2) requires that the comprehensive plan reflect statutory energy policies.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011, except as indicated

Comments