HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, majority chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, commended House approval of his legislation that would reduce energy usage and costs and require utilities to implement energy-efficiency measures.
“House Bill 2200 would require utilities to reduce overall output by 2.5 percent, and peak demand – when energy prices are at their highest – by 4 percent,” said George, D-74 of Clearfield County. “It also would direct the Public Utility Commission to change the dynamic so that utilities promoting energy conservation are rewarded rather than punished.”
George praised amendments to his bill offered by Rep. Robert Freeman, D-136 of Northampton County, that would provide interim output and peak demand reductions before the full benchmarks take effect on May 31, 2013.
A second Freeman amendment would require smart meters to be installed across the Commonwealth in 10 years. Smart meters, already installed in some areas of Pennsylvania, enable consumers to adjust electric usage to price changes.
HB 2200, approved on a 152-45 vote, now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The bill’s House approval followed the morning’s two-hour public hearing of Special Session House Bill 54, which would extend electric-generation rate caps for at least two years. More than 80 percent of the state’s electric customers face double-digit rate increases with the expiration of rate caps at the end of 2009 and 2010.
“Should the rate caps be extended, utilities would be directed to ensure reliable service at the lowest, reasonable rates through a portfolio of long-term, short-term and spot market purchases,” George said. “Pennsylvania would move forward while buying time to fix Pennsylvania’s 11-year-old deregulation law.”