Lawmakers pass energy bill in special session to change the way utility companies are regulated

Lawmakers pass energy bill in special session to change the way utility companies are regulated

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Lawmakers are back at the state capitol for a special session.

On Wednesday, the State House voted on ten bills and the State Senate will take those issues up on Thursday. 

The big item on their Wednesday agenda was a bill called “Take back our grid.”

The legislation is aimed at changing how utility companies are run, create more transparency and improve how storms are handled.

Around 10:30 p.m., the House of Representatives overwhelming passed the bill.

Lawmakers spent hours debating it. 

This bill will change the way utility companies like Eversource and United Illuminating are regulated, transitioning to a performance-based system and giving refunds after 96 hours of outages. 

BREAKING: CT House of Representatives overwhelmingly passes bill changing the way utility companies like Eversource and UI are regulated- transitioning to a performance- based system, and giving customers refunds after 96 hours of outages.

— Sharon Johnson (@sharon_johnson5) October 1, 2020

“This bill was born out of what I would call the perfect storm,” said Rep. Charles Ferraro. 

The bill does several things.

It would limit profits made by utility companies, it gives state regulators more time to review rate hikes and would give refunds to customers who lose food or medication because of an extended power outage.

This is in direct response to Tropical Storm Isaias in August and intense criticism over huge power outages that lasted for days.

“We believe some of these changes are going to change the way they respond to storms and say we have to respond very, very quickly or else,” said Rep. Matt Ritter. 

Lawmakers passed the bill 136 to 4. 

RELATED: Lawmakers hear from public, Eversource regarding storm response, rate hikes

Some of the other bills deal with cleaning up and redeveloping brown sites, which are sites in the state that are contaminated.

RELATED: Regulating utilities, absentee ballots on the table as special session starts Tuesday

There’s also a bill to address funding for school construction projects.

The House of Representatives is going in on Wednesday. The Senate goes in on Thursday. There could be another session Friday.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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