Breaking News
More () »

Gov. Lamont signs recently passed energy bill, aimed at holding electric companies accountable

The bill seeks to reform electric companies in the state following the much-criticized response to Tropical Storm Isaias

HARTFORD, Conn. — Governor Ned Lamont is set to sign House Bill 7006: An Act Concerning Emergency Response by Electric Distribution Companies, the Regulation of Other Public Utilities and Nexus Provisions for Certain Disaster-Related or Emergency-Related Work Performed in the State

The energy bill, also known as "Take Back Our Grid Act", passed the House and Senate last week and aims at reforming utility companies in the state. 

The bill is said to increase oversight and accountability over Connecticut's utilities after the criticized response to Tropical Storm Isaias as well as rate hikes.

Eversource customers were vocal in their criticism over the electric company's recent rate hikes at the end of July. Then, two weeks later, Tropical Storm Isaias hit, leaving some residents in the dark for over a week. 

United Illuminating was also not spared criticism over its response efforts following Isaias.

"We've created a new regulatory framework by which PURA and our extraordinary new commissioner and chairperson can work to hold the utilities accountable," Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee.

State Representative Mark Arconti (D-Danbury), the Co-Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, thanked the governor at the bill signing for allowing the special session to take up the bill. Rep. Arconti praised the bill, and cited the ability to now extend the timeline when it comes to rate making, saying the state used to have the shortest in the country. 

PURA's chairperson Marissa Paslick Gillett said that it had been a "difficult year" between the storms and the pandemic, but she is looking forward to rising to the challenge of balancing out regulation. She said there has been an "enormous" increase of interest in their day to day proceedings, which brought more people to the table. 

The bill would require PURA  to implement financial based incentives and penalties for how utility companies perform.

Gov. Lamont said that the bill isn't just about utilities, but is life-giving. 

The “Take Back Our Grid Act” looks to place limits on energy rate hikes and allows reimbursement to consumers who lose food or medicine due to extended outages. It would require customers to be given a $25 account credit/per day and $250 for any food and medication that spoils during an outage that lasts more than 96 hours (4 days)

Gov. Lamont went on to say that it's important to have rules that don't make sense for just the short term, but also the long term, and that the bill did "regulation right".

You can read the full bill here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out