October 2022 – Connecticut Policy Update
October 19, 2022
BPA tracks the latest policy updates and legislative issues in many states across the nation. See the latest policy information for Connecticut as of October 2022.
Disclaimer: Inclusion of any bills/regulations in this state policy update does not equate to BPA’s endorsement.
In September, Governor Lamont, along with other New England governors, sent a joint letter to congressional leaders requesting at least $500 million in emergency supplemental funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for fiscal year 2023. The emergency funds would be in addition to the annual appropriation for LIHEAP to address increasing home energy bills in the winter related to global energy markets.
Also in September, Governor Lamount announced the launch of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Climate Resilience Fund, a state grant program that will help communities in the state plan and prepare for the effects of climate change. The first round of funding will include $10 million available for Municipalities, Councils of Government, Non-Profit Organizations, Academic Institutions, and private sector entities with at least 40% of funding resources for vulnerable populations to manage and reduce the impacts of climate change. More information and applications for funding are available through DEEP.
In July, a new law requiring Connecticut to fully eliminate emissions in the electricity sector by 2040 took effect (see SB10 below). Other bills related to building efficiency, however, did not pass before the session adjourned. HB 5041, a bill that would have required landlords to provide a Home Energy Label for any dwelling unit listed publicly for rent, passed in the House this year but did not see a vote in the Senate. Bills to prohibit the use of fossil fuel combustion as the primary source of heating or cooling in new residential construction (see SB 292 below) and to provide a tax credit for efficient new construction did not receive a vote in Committee. These bills would need to be reintroduced in 2023 for consideration.
Meanwhile, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is requesting public comment on the development of the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) to guide policymakers on the State’s energy needs including opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. (More specifics on the CES below).
- In September, the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) released a draft decision requesting that Eversource and the United Illuminating Company establish a two-tiered low-income discount rate (LIDR) to provide direct help to residential customers. The utilities have until November 2023 to develop the LIDR. Tier 1 LIDR provides a 10% monthly discount to households with an income less than 60% State Median Income. Tier 2 LIDR provides a 45% monthly discount to households earning no more than 160% of federal poverty guidelines.
- DEEP continues to take stakeholder input on the development of the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES), which is published every four years to guide policymakers to meet future energy needs in the state and identify opportunities to reduce costs, ensure reliable energy availability, and mitigate public health and environmental impacts of Connecticut’s energy use. This comes after Governor Lamont issued an executive order last year directing DEEP to include in the next CES a set of strategies to “provide for more affordable heating and cooling for Connecticut residents and businesses, achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from residential buildings and industrial facilities… and improve the resilience of the state’s energy sector.” DEEP will be hosting public meetings through September and October and has requested the public to submit written comments on the CES including topics focused on “Heat pump barriers and market strategies” and “Building thermal decarbonization.”
- In June, the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), housed within DEEP, announced a Program Operator for the Statewide Weatherization Barrier Remediation Program, which will utilize Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to address and improve health and safety barriers such as mold and asbestos in up to 1,000 low-income households. After barrier remediation, households will receive energy efficiency improvements through either Connecticut’s state-managed or utility-managed weatherization program for income-eligible households. The Program will be available to Connecticut low-income residents in late 2022.
- In June, DEEP released approval of the 2022-2024 Conservation and Load Management (C&LM) Plan, submitted by state utilities in March to invest $708 million over three years to administer Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs with priorities to drive “equity, decarbonization, and energy affordability” across Residential, Commercial & Industrial, and Workforce & Community Outreach Programs. In its ruling, DEEP requires that utilities implement their C&LM Plans to help reach state goals “to weatherize 80% of the state’s residential units by 2030”, “fully leverage the capabilities of AMI”, and “to contribute to a robust energy efficiency workforce in Connecticut.”
2022 Regular Session Dates: February 9 until May 4.
Bills that passed in 2022:
- SB 10 An Act Concerning Climate Change Mitigation would require the state to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from electricity supplied to electric customers in the state by January 1, 2040. After passing through the House but failing to see a vote in the Senate during 2021, this bill passed with overwhelming support in both chambers. The bill has not been signed by the Governor at the time of this writing. On May 10, SB 10 was signed into law by the Governor and took effect July 1.
Bills considered but not passed in 2022:
- SB 292 An Act Concerning Heating Efficiency in New Residential Construction and Major Alterations of Residential Buildings would revise building codes starting in 2024 to prohibit the use of any electric resistance or fossil fuel combustion system as the primary source of heating, ventilation, air conditioning or water heating in residential new construction or in major alterations of residential buildings. The bill would also establish a program through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to train and educate contractors to provide services that allow for space heating without the use of fossil fuels. Neither chamber voted on the bill prior to the end of session.
- HB 5041 An Act Concerning Home Energy Affordability for Home Renters would require landlords to provide a Home Energy Label for any dwelling unit listed publicly for rent by 2023, including information on the energy performance of the buildings’ insulation, windows, and HVAC systems. The bill, which was put forward by Governor Lamont, was passed in the House following amendments. The Senate did not vote on the bill before the end of session.
- SB 14 An Act Concerning Home Energy Affordability for Home Buyers would require energy labels to be provided for all sales of residential property once property is listed for sale. This bill was submitted to the General Assembly at the Governor’s request. Homes constructed after the year 2000, foreclosures, trustee’s sales, and pre-foreclosure sales would be exempt from the requirement. The bill failed to report out of committee prior to the end of session.
- SB 295 An Act Establishing Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Homes would create a one-time tax credit that can be applied after the purchase of a newly constructed energy efficient home from January 2022 until January 2026. The credit would be $2,500, or $5,000 for those filing jointly. “Energy efficient homes” must have a score of 50 or less on the Home Energy Rating System Index, or equivalent requirements for Energy Star certified homes (measured by a licensed third party). SB 295 was not reported out of committee prior to the end of session.
- SB 53 An Act to Establish an Income Tax Credit for the Purchase of Energy Efficient Homes would create a one-time tax credit after the purchase of a newly constructed energy efficient home from January 2022 through January 2025. The credit would be $2,500, or $5,000 for those filing jointly. “Energy efficient homes” must have a score of 60 or higher on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The bill was not reported out of committee prior to the end of session.
- SB 372 An Act Regarding Residential Facilities Green Initiatives to incorporate energy efficiency standards in the construction of new residential living facilities such as group homes, community companion homes, and transitional facilities. It would require the Commissioner of Developmental Services to provide energy assessments and recommendations for energy efficiency improvements to the Department of Developmental Services to upgrade these facilities by July 2023. The Public Health Committee issued a favorable report of the bill but neither chamber voted to approve the bill prior to the end of session.