Senator Witkos Supports Bill Improving State’s Energy Policies

June 6, 2011

Building a new path to clean energy, industry growth and lower electric rates

HARTFORD – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) today commended the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 1243, An Act Concerning the Establishment of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Planning for Connecticut’s Energy Future. By focusing on more efficient clean energy resources, establishing increased oversight, and restructuring current procurement policies, this bill targets and forecasts energy needs in a way that will reduce costs to consumers while developing the industry and creating new jobs.

Senator Witkos, Ranking Member on the Energy and Technology Committee and a co-author of the bill, remarked on the bipartisan drafting efforts saying, “This measure is an important piece of legislation that I have worked across party lines to see passed. It stems from the overdue need to restructure the state’s energy processes and the rising costs associated with them. We have achieved a common goal and can now move forward to improve Connecticut’s energy policies in a manner that supports generators and most importantly, ratepayers.”

The largest component of the bill is the creation of a new streamlined department – the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). This is a merger of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Public Utilities (DPUC), and the Office of Policy and Management energy staff. DEEP will serve as the state’s energy agency, having cognizance and oversight over all matters of energy procurement and state run programs. Of the positions created within DEEP is a Procurement Officer, who will be responsible for purchasing electricity for customers who do not use competitive suppliers. Commenting on the officer’s role, Witkos said, “Purchasing power on an as need or on demand basis elicits increased accuracy and will likely result in a five percent decrease on the procurement side, and more money kept in the consumer’s pocket.”

Within the framework of the legislation are mission statements that set out to accomplish four goals for power use and energy financing in the state. These goals include:

  • Reducing rates and decreasing costs for Connecticut’s ratepayers;
  • Ensuring the reliability and safety of the state’s energy supply;
  • Increasing the use of clean energy and technologies that support clean energy; and
  • Developing the state’s energy-related economy.

“Connecticut’s energy costs have long ranked among the nation’s highest, and through a commitment to the missions set out in this bill, our rates and generation technologies will soon be in line with the rest of the country,” noted Senator Witkos.

Senate Bill 1243 takes a comprehensive approach to building the state’s energy future by supporting individuals, businesses, and municipalities; advancing clean energy generation; restructuring low-income assistance programs and grants; and establishing an office for the business community that assists in lowering their energy costs.

“We are taking these steps to keep up with the demands of Connecticut ratepayers and also to advance energy generation in a way that benefits the state economy and will help preserve the environment for years to come.

“I look forward to the implementation of this bill and witnessing the benefits it provides to every family, senior citizen and business residing in Connecticut.”

Senate Bill 1243 passed the Senate 36-0 and now goes before the House of Representatives for final vote.