SolarConn Update Week Ahead 190408
Updated: Apr 22, 2019
1. Understanding 2019's Major Solar Bill HB 7251
2. VMN Update ____________________________________
House Bill 7251 - HB 7251 started in the Legislature's Energy Committee, one of 23 committees in the state Legislature. Bills voted out of the Energy Committee by the Committee's March 21 deadline move on to the next step. 7251 made the cut. The version of the bill voted out of committee includes several issues raised by SolarConn members like ZREC extension, RSIP extension, NEM extension, Value of Solar, etc. All DEM/GOP members of the Energy Committee voted yes on 7251. That's unusual for solar legislation and a good omen for our bill's chances of becoming state.
The CT Legislature employs non-partisan staff to analyze proposed bills for their  impact, and  cost to the state. This year, for the first time, all proposed bills expected to increase electric bills will be subject to a ratepayer impact study. 7251 analysis below:
HB 7251 impact analysis: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/BA/pdf/2019HB-07251-R000431-BA.pdf
HB 7251 cost analysis: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/FN/pdf/2019HB-07251-R000431-FN.pdf
Because the bill proposes electric ratepayers pay the cost of two additional ZREC years (2020/2021), 7251 will likely be sent to the Appropriations Committee for approval there. With 50 members, the Appropriations Committee is the Legislature's largest. Be ready to reach out to these Committee members in the next week or two (I'll let you know when).
Assuming Appropriations OKs the bill, it'll then head to the state House for a vote as early as late April, then the state Senate for a vote, and finally to Gov. Lamont for his signature.
Outside of explaining to lawmakers why ratepayers should pay for two more ZREC years, I don't see any major obstacles for 7251.
VNM - HB 7115 was a bill to double the current $10M virtual net metering cap. 7115 did not make the cut in the Energy Committee. That bill cannot move forward. SolarConn though is working to revive VNM this session. I'm confident that we can amend the 7115 bill language (or something more aggresive) to some other related bill that's expected to win approval this year. But I need support from our members.
I've already asked SolarConn members to get brief letters/email from their current and interested VNM municipal hosts/beneficiaries customers noting how VNM has or will reduce their energy costs. More than 50 VNM projects have been approved. SolarConn members should easily be able to produce 25 letters from current or future VNM users including those in the cue. A short statement is all I need to prove to lawmakers that the VNM cap should be lifted or greatly increased.
Address letters/email to: "Dear Rep. Arconti and Sen. Needleman"
Email those letters/email to me ASAP (Apri 14 the latest) and I will bring them to Energy Committee House Chair Rep. Dave Arconti and Energy Committee Senate Chair Sen. Norm Needleman when I meet with them and other key lawmakers this week and next week.
Michael Trahan Executive Director SolarConnecticut "Connecticut's Solar Industry Group Since 2007" P.O. Box 515 Higganum, CT 06441 860-256-1698 firstname.lastname@example.org