2021 Operation Fuel Legislative Session Update

Submitted by Gannon Long, Policy & Public Affairs Director. June 18, 2021.

The 2021 CT General Assembly legislative session was Operation Fuel’s first with a full-time policy director. We submitted virtual verbal testimony at three public hearings, as well as written testimony on 10 different bills. Though unable to enter the Legislative Office Building or Capitol, we closely tracked legislation.

Our strategy for the 2021 session was to focus our energy on consensus bills that would serve our clients, broaden our coalition partnerships, and be likely to pass. We stretched beyond our core issue areas of energy affordability and efficiency, recognizing that our constituents are affected by environmental, transportation, economic, public health, and other challenges facing low- and moderate-income people in a wealthy state known for its structural inequalities.

Passed during the fall 2020 special session, the Take Back Our Grid Act reformed utility regulation and ratemaking practices. The law includes a provision enabling the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to award fine revenue to Operation Fuel from electricity, gas, water, and supplier companies that violate Authority orders. Between October 2020 and June 2021, PURA has awarded $832,000 to the organization.

Operation Fuel supported several bills that passed this year:

(Click the bill name and/or the testimony link below to learn more.)

 

SB 356: An Act Establishing an Energy Efficiency Retrofit Grant Program for Affordable Housing

 

SB 856: An Act Increasing Representation on the Energy Conservation Management Board

 

SB 1037: An Act Concerning Solid Waste Management

 

HB 6441: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation

 

HB 6526: An Act Concerning Electric Suppliers

 

HB 5429: An Act Concerning Pedestrian Safety

 

Next Steps

While we advocated for several successful bills, this session also fell short on a few key issues that we will be back to push next year. These include bills on water quality, removing health hazards from homes, and climate change mitigation. Through our work with PURA, we are identifying other issues regarding energy affordability and billing that may be revised through the legislative process next year. (Example: Competitive Transition Assessment fee that charges ratepayers for the spilled energy that EDCs can’t sell to clients with 3rd party electricity suppliers.)

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