Despite a huge budget crisis and widespread calls for smaller and better government, a costly proposal to expand the state’s role in the energy marketplace — specifically, by creating a quasi-public agency known as the “Connecticut Electric Authority” (HB-6510) — has been approved by the Government Administration and Elections Committee.
side resources to meet the electricity needs of Connecticut customers. Not only would these be brand-new roles for state government, they are already being filled by the electric distribution companies and the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC).
It’s hard to believe that HB-6510 is still being considered at the same time lawmakers and the governor’s administration are trying to find ways to close a nearly $7 billion budget gap—and when many people are very worried about jobs. Adding another layer of state government bureaucracy is not what people want or need.
Several times this year, the people of Connecticut—through polls conducted by Zogby International and Quinnipiac University—have said they want a smaller, more effective state government that will focus on taking care of its core responsibilities. Nevertheless, the legislature persists in trying to expand state government into the energy arena despite the costs—which would be significant.
For instance, the Authority would own and operate electric power plants and provide financial assistance to help develop electric generation facilities. The Authority would also be authorized to have an executive director and hire personnel. It could also borrow money and issue bonds, and the attorney general would be able to retain outside legal counsel to represent the Authority before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Each of these roles entails significant individual and business ratepayer or taxpayer costs. The Authority will cost millions of dollars to establish and operate. Purchasing power will require billions of dollars in collateral.
Connecticut needs affordable and reliable power—something the Authority would not be able to guarantee. It would still operate under the rules established by the Independent System Operator (ISO New England) and FERC. It also would not be able to prevent hedge funds from participating in the open market.
The only thing guaranteed by the Authority is higher costs. Lawmakers should heed the public’s advice and minimize state government by scrapping plans for the costly new Authority.
For more information, contact CBIA at 860-244-1900.