Energy Choice Legislation Passes PA Senate

By a vote of 40-9, the Pennsylvania State Senate recently passed the Energy Choice bill (Senate Bill 143) The bill would prohibit local governments from banning or regulating energy use (ex: installation of natural gas, oil, or propane heating system) within their jurisdictions. The legislation passed by a smaller margin than last session. The increase in Democratic support was credited to the support of bill this session by labor unions, especially in Southeast Pennsylvania.

In what may be an indicator of one reason for labor support, the website of the Utility Workers Union of America has posted an opinion piece by its president opposing the efforts of the City of Philadelphia to phase out Philadelphia Gas Works in a move to reduce greenhouse gasses. A copy of that op-ed can be found here.

An Energy Choice bill passed both chambers of the legislature last session but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Wolf. Senate Bill 143 faces an uncertain future. It is now in the House Local Government Committee which is controlled by Democrats who were not supportive of the concept last year. As of this writing, the position of the Shapiro Administration is not clear. The PPA strongly supports this legislation.