Conn. to take another run at energy policy

Associated Press Modified: January 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm •  Published: January 27, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — State lawmakers are reviving an effort to overhaul energy policy in Connecticut, where a bill designed to bring down the state's high cost of electricity was vetoed last year by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Democrats who control the legislature believe the new Democratic governor, Dannel P. Malloy, will help push through changes to the state's deregulated electricity system.

The 2010 legislation would have made numerous changes, including reorganizing the Department of Public Utility Control, provided incentives for renewable energy, required rate reductions and set new efficiency standards for appliances.

Lawmakers are only now beginning to write a new version of the legislation, but Rep. Vicki Nardello, co-chairwoman of the Energy and Technology Committee, said major components of the bill will remain the same.

Asked if she expects Malloy to sign the legislation into law, Nardello said she believes the bill will "have the support of the legislature and the governor."

Last year, critics questioned whether the bill's financial incentives to help the state's budding solar industry would have increased costs for ratepayers and whether the complicated legislation would hinder ratepayers' ability to choose alternative electric suppliers.

In her veto, Rell said the legislation was "well-intentioned" but she could not approve sweeping changes without fully knowing how they would affect the energy market, the state's economy and consumers' electricity bills.

Colleen Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said he supports "substantial revisions" in Connecticut's electricity system, but she did not provide specifics. Malloy will establish an advisory group to work with the legislature on the issue, she said.

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