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Green Monster Bill: Monstrous Costs to Ratepayers

The Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), the nonpartisan fiscal research and analysis arm of the Connecticut General Assembly, found that the “Green Monster” environmental omnibus bill would result “in a significant increase in cost to ratepayers.” 

Ratepayers include state and local governments, as well as Connecticut businesses. 

Rep. Christine Palm (D-Chester) — the bill’s main architect —  has called the legislation “full of incentives for businesses like rebates, tax cuts and waived fees.” Rep. Palm is correct, the climate change bill does provide some environmentally friendly business incentives, rebates and even the possibility of waiving Department of Revenue Services (DRS) fees. 

However, the OFA report indicates that ratepayers may find increased costs less than incentivizing, which are outlined in two sections of the report.

The first section requires state agencies to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 45% from 2001 levels by 2030, 75% from 2016 levels by 2040, and achieve net zero by 2050. OFA notes that these ambitious targets will incur costs for state agencies, though it did not specify the amount. 

The other section sets state-wide targets to reach a level of 65 % GHG below 2001 levels by 2040 and to reach economy-wide net-zero by 2050. On this, the OFA found that the cost to achieve these goals “will be substantial but it is unclear what that cost will be year to year or where that cost will be borne.” 

Additionally, the “Green Monster” legislation requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to hire a consultant in order to prepare a report on GHG emissions, which is projected to cost $600,000. This report’s aim is to outline strategies to meet GHG and/or sector-specific emission reduction targets, while evaluating the sufficiency of the state’s renewable portfolio standards, (which are requirements for electricity providers to get part of their power from renewable sources). 

What the consultant’s report will not include is the potential cost impact on residents in the state, specifically those in lower- and middle-income households. 

OFA did not provide any more details other than this bill will have ratepayers — who are already paying some of the highest electric rates in the country — seeing significant cost increases in their electric bills. 

However, at a public hearing regarding the ban on selling new gas cars last August, Eversource pointed out that the electrical infrastructure, in its current state, could not handle the massive demand if the regulation passed.  They estimated that approximately eight existing substations would need upgrades, and around 14 new electrical substations would need to be constructed. Eversource projected these upgrades would require additional grid investments totaling between $1.5 billion and $2.4 billion. 

Eversource also noted that during peak demand times, Connecticut relies on about 8,000 megawatts of electricity provided solely by them. Introducing more electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads through the proposed mandate would have increased the demand by an additional 4,000 megawatts. 

While Eversource has provided cost estimates for upgrading the electrical grid to support an electrified transportation sector, it is important to note that these projections do not include other sectors like construction and agriculture. The financial implications of expanding electrification to include all sectors are undefined, suggesting potential additional costs that have not yet been quantified. This highlights the need for a more comprehensive analysis to fully understand the economic impact of broad electrification initiatives on Connecticut’s infrastructure and its ratepayers. 

The bill cleared the Environment Committee on April 8 and is now pending further action. It is yet to be determined whether it will be scheduled for a vote in the House and Senate or referred to another committee for additional review. 

Progressives Mobilizing in Anticipation of a Vote on Paid Sick Days 

Three slightly different bills mandating that all employers in the state provide paid sick days were voted out of the Labor Committee on March 21st.   

According to an April 11th email from the Working Families Party (WFP), higher-ups in the party are “hearing that the paid sick days bill might be coming up for a vote next week” and they are calling on their fellow progressives to make “a final push calling voters, texting and knocking doors to gather support for the legislation.”  

The group will meet at their Hartford office — with “food and wine” — “for an evening of action in support of expanding paid sick days to all workers in Connecticut” on April 12th and 15th. 

They will be talking to constituents in “key districts in support of this bill.” However, it is unclear which bill they will be supporting. 

The three bills up for debate come from the Governor, House and Senate. They all seek to extend the current law, which is limited to employers with 50 or more employees, to include almost all private sector workers. This expansion would apply to businesses of any size and sector, including non-profits. 

Additionally, the bills expand the definition of family members eligible for sick leave to include all blood relatives and individuals with close family ties. The permissible uses of sick leave are also broadened to cover situations such as public health emergency shutdowns and quarantine periods. 

A notable distinction in the House bill is its phased approach to including smaller employers, extending over two additional years. It also stipulates that employers must provide employees with 40 hours of sick leave annually, rather than accruing it based on hours worked. 

WFP is confident that with support from their followers this will be their “chance to ensure every worker in Connecticut has access to paid sick days.” 

It remains unknown which version of the bill will be brought to a vote. 

🚨This Week on Yankee’s Podcast Y CT Matters  

It’s our 100th episode! Thank you for listening to and supporting Y CT Matters — we’re just getting started!

To mark the significant milestone, I talked with Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, a satirical news site. Known for their conservative wit and “prophecies” (when jokes become reality), the Bee was famously locked out of its Twitter account over a joke. This action prompted Elon Musk to buy the social media giant. Dillon discusses why the Bee was founded, comedy in today’s climate, censorship and free speech, and interactions with Musk. Find the Babylon Bee’s work here.

But this episode is only a taste of what Dillon will speak about at Yankee Institute’s Champions of Freedom Gala at the Woodway Country Club in Darien on April 27!

Don’t miss the chance to be part of the most BUZZWORTHY event of the season!

Come celebrate Yankee Institute’s 40th birthday with Dillon! It will be a memorable evening with like-minded friends from across Connecticut, full of libations, liberty and especially laughter!

Avoid the swarm — mark your calendars and purchase your tickets before April 17 or while they last!

Buy your ticket here  

Click here to listen 

Meghan Portfolio

Meghan worked in the private sector for two decades in various roles in management, sales, and project management. She was an intern on a presidential campaign and field organizer in a governor’s race. Meghan, a Connecticut native, joined Yankee Institute in 2019 as the Development Manager. After two years with Yankee, she has moved into the policy space as Yankee’s Manager of Research and Analysis. When she isn’t keeping up with local and current news, she enjoys running–having completed seven marathons–and reading her way through Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.

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