“Speed matters,” says Dan Esty—especially when Connecticut businesses are trying to navigate through the state’s regulatory maze.

And that’s why the commissioner of the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is making his agency more effective, more efficient and quicker in how it does business.

Esty is spreading the welcome news to businesses throughout the state (this week, on CBIA’s “Business Minute” interview series)—that things are changing for the better in this major regulatory body.

At stake, the commissioner says, is restoring Connecticut as an attractive place to do business and building a more potent state economy.

“We’re trying to change the culture to focus on becoming more responsive to the regulated community,” says Esty. “And that requires us to understand that speed matters if you’re waiting for a permit.”

DEEP, he says, will always safeguard Connecticut’s natural resources and work for lower energy prices. In the  process, DEEP also will help employers succeed and create jobs.

Leaning DEEP

Not only is Esty taking a pro-business approach to setting agency policy, he’s adopting business techniques to make DEEP work faster and better.

For example, DEEP is continuing to apply the Lean processes that manufacturers use to shave time and increase quality. With Lean, says Esty, DEEP will “take apart our permitting processes and try to speed them up by eliminating elements that are not value-added.”   

Style change

When it comes to environmental regulatory compliance, Esty believes that “most businesspeople most of the time want to do the right thing ...” That’s why he is ditching the old DEP’s  “command-and-control” compliance style that has long frustrated Connecticut businesses—and job creation.  

“I recognize that we need to find ways to work with the business community and not against the business community,” says Esty.

Energy future

Behind the new approach and new tools at DEEP, says the commissioner, is the legislation that created DEEP also gave it “a platform for leadership on both the energy and environmental fronts.”

The new law is bringing the former Department of Public Utility Control into DEEP, where it will be “recrafted as a 21st century regulatory entity,” says Esty.

Altogether, Connecticut should now see a combined energy and technology policy and strategies to go with it—designed to “ensure we’re making good energy decisions that will bring down prices and help Connecticut lead the way to a clean energy future.

And he’s still thinking about businesses. DEEP, he says, is focusing on incentives that will “draw private-sector businesses into providing more energy efficiency and help [build] a renewable power future.”

Esty’s multi-part interview will be the subject of CBIA’s Business Minute for the next three week. You can hear them here.