State Legislative Session Resumes September 20

The state Senate and House will reconvene session on September 20 after breaking for summer recess. The following are bills are legislation PPA will be particularly engaged in the fall session–

SB 435 (Mensch): The bill would require electric utilities to submit plans to buildout the electric vehicle (EV) charging networks allowing them to recover the costs from ratepayers. The utilities would be permitted to enter the retail EV charging market. The origins of the bill were originally drafted by PECO and has been supported by environmental groups.

            Current Status: The bill was stalled in late June after a contentious Senate Republican Caucus. PPA had worked to educate Senators that this is a tax, and that if passed, the bill would likely lead to the utilities monopolizing the retail EV charging network. The PPA has been monitoring the bill to determine if it will be reconsidered.

HB 1285 (Williams): The bill would allow electric utilities to tax their ratepayers for the buildout of the EV charging infrastructure. It would also allow natural gas utilities to tax existing customers the costs of building out natural gas lines to potential new customers.

            Current Status: The bill is in the House Consumer Affairs Committee. PPA has been conducting an extensive outreach campaign to members of the committee, asking them to oppose the bill. That effort will continue into the fall legislative session.

Senate Bill 275 (Yaw): The bill would give the state preemption over local municipalities in regard to energy policy and regulation. The legislation is in response to actions of local governments in some other states that have moved to ban the use of fossil fuels in their jurisdictions.

            Current Status: The PPA is strongly supporting this bill and provided testimony to that effect to a joint Senate Committee hearing in the spring. Environmental and local government groups have been strongly opposing this bill. Efforts to fashion a compromise have been on going.

 — Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): This pending regulation is being pushed hard by the Wolf Administration. RGGI would establish a cap-and-trade program on fuel used for electric power generation. The regulation was approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) on September 1 and is currently the focus of action by legislative committees attempting to block it.This battle will intensify once the legislative session resumes. PPA is concerned about the $300 million that will go to the state from the proceeds of the cap-and-trade option. Other states have used some of their funds for such programs as rebate programs for converting fossil fuel units to electric heat pumps. PPA will continue to closely monitor this issue.

TAP HERE for all articles in September 13 EXPRESS Update