Energy and Technology Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-23

Title:

AN ACT ENHANCING EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE.

Vote Date:

3/28/2012

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/20/2012

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Governor's Bill

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill enhances the oversight of the DEMHS civil preparedness plan to specifically include public service companies, directs PURA to establish minimum performance standards for public service companies and develops a grant and loan program for renewable distributed generation and micro-grids for critical facilities.

The JFS language significantly expands the bill from 4 Sections to 12 Sections.

Section 1 and Section 2 reflect the original language

Section 3 directs PURA to initiate a docket to establish standards for acceptable performance by each electric company etc., to ensure the reliability of company's services in any emergency. On or before November 1, 2012 they shall submit a report identifying the standards and recommendations.

The docket shall include the utilities current practices concerning service restoration after the emergency, the adequacy of their company's infrastructure, the coordination of efforts between the electric companies, electric distribution companies, telecom companies, community antenna TV company or certified competitive video service provider. It should also include the utilities tree trimming policies and any other policy and practices and any other policy the authority determines relevant.

Section 4 directs PURA to establish minimum standards of performance for utilities in an emergency and sets forth a number of specified areas the authority must include

Section 5 directs the utility as previously defined in Section four to provide an emergency response plan. (August 1, 2012 and April 1st thereafter.

Section 6 indicates that PURA review the performance of the utilities after any emergency and instructs it to levy civil penalties if standards are not met. It also specifies a CAP of $20,000,000 and that any penalty not be included for purposes of ratemaking.

Section 7 includes definitions and instructs DEEP to establish a micro-grid grant and loan pilot program to support local renewable distributed energy generation for critical facilities with the amount of the grants and loans not to exceed $5,000,000.

Section 8 directs the electric utilities to submit a plan no later than 10/1/2012 to implement the standards of acceptable performance and PURA shall approve, reject or modify the plan.

Section 9 requires telecommunication companies to provide a plan on or before 10/1/2012 to PURA to provide backup power to telecommunication tower or antenna and specifies that these plans are confidential and not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 10 includes matters concerning the maintenance and operation of the infrastructure of such companies, suppliers and providers that provide service to consumers.

Section 11 directs the DOT and any municipality to notify PURA of any project, construction, alteration or improvements on state or local highways and roads. The authority shall notify the utilities of the projects if they would provide any opportunity for replacing or upgrading the utilities infrastructure.

Section 12 directs PURA to open a docket concerning replacing or upgrading public service companies infrastructure with a reporting date of 2/1/13 to the Energy and Technologies Committee.

(parts of HB 5544 were included in the substitute language for SB 23.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Dept of Energy & Environmental Protection:

DEEP testified in favor of SB 23 (as well as HB 5544). They supported that the scope and oversight of DEMHS civil preparedness plan and programs to include public service companies. That it directs PURA to establish minimum performances standards for public utilities in emergency preparation and restoration of services and develop a grant and loan program for deployment of distributed generation and micro-grids to service critical facilities. They did suggest that projects should be prioritized and that expectations may be overly optimistic

Office of Consumer Council:

They supported the bill but had some reservations concerning the implications of the bill over jurisdiction of utility infrastructure, operations and management which has been under PURA. They suggest that that portion of the plan be prepared jointly by the Commissioners of Public Protection and Security (formally DEMHS and Public Safety) and PURA and that any aspect of the plan that would increase utility rates be subject of PURA rate review. (The substitute language does leave jurisdictional authority with PURA.)

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

CBIA – Eric Brown:

CBIA supports the bill with the bill amended to include the degree to which matters were out side of the control of the utilities for failing to meet performance standards.

CL&P and Yankee Gas:

CL&P and Yankee Gas spoke in support of the bill strongly supporting Sections 1 and 2 of the bill. They indicated that they were implementing the recommendation of the Witt Group and the Two Storm Panel that were included in Section 3 of the bill.

They requested that Section 4 be revised to facilitate their ability to begin initial micro-grid instillations this year and that current tree trimming legislation be revised to address improved processes for permission to cut trees as well as the creation of a process to address the distressed and dangerous trees on private property that could come down on there lines in future storms. (Their comments only addressed language in SB 23.)

Connecticut Fund for the Environment:

They testified in support of Section 4 concerning the establishment of the micro-grid program.

Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc:

They testified in favor of this bill and HB 5544. (The substitute language has elements of both bills considered.)

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW):

They testified in favor of SB 23 and HB 5544.

Town of Somers:

They testified in favor of SB 23, HB 5544 and SB 450 as a member of CCM.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities:

Their testimony included their support for this bill, HB 5544 and SB 450 pointing out the importance of proper planning and coordination with public service companies, state and local municipalities in the event of man made and natural disasters.

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

They testified in favor of the bill and the importance of staffing levels, remedies for consumers, limits on executive compensation and rate relief for customers.

Council of Small Towns:

Their support included SB 23, HB 5544 and SB 450. (Substitute language includes elements of SB 23 and HB 5544.)

AARP:

Their testimony included support for both SB 23 and HB 5544.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Connecticut Water Works Association:

They testified that the Bill should exclude water companies from it scope. (The substitute language does not exclude them from this consideration.)

Reported by: Richard Ferrari, Assistant Clerk

Date: April 2, 2012