State general assembly to convene next month

The 2nd Session of the 72nd General Assembly will convene in early January with a slate of bills before them, and many to follow.

Last year’s session approved several new interim committees – committees that meet between legislative sessions to consider issues of importance to the state – and each has an allotment of bills it may propose for the upcoming session.

Two committees of importance to electric utilities that have been meeting over the interim are the Investor-Owned Utility Review Interim Study Committee (IOU Committee) and the Energy Legislation Review Interim Study Committee (ELRC). The IOU Committee met for its final time in October and approved three bills to be introduced this session. One would study the option of community choice aggregation, the second would increase funding for Energy Outreach Colorado if other funding sources decline, and the third would create parameters investor-owned utilities must follow with respect to medical exemptions, disconnects and weather-related disconnect policies.

The ELRC met for the final time at the beginning of November and proposed five bills for the upcoming session. The topics include financial incentives for clean energy projects, creation of a Colorado Electric Transmission Authority, a statewide biodiesel blend requirement, similar valuation of energy storage equipment to rooftop solar for tax purposes, and transmission of renewable energy through conservation easements.

Both the IOU Committee and the ELRC invited IREA CEO Patrick Mooney to present to their committees. As detailed in previous IREA news articles, he argued that Colorado utilities need to join a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) to effectively and efficiently serve customers under new carbon reduction standards and to ensure reliability and affordability through better grid management and creation of a wholesale power market. We continue to work with legislators on this issue and hope to bring forward legislation that will encourage RTO formation.

IREA would like to acknowledge and thank our IREA Advocates of the Year, Rep. Chris Hansen (D-Denver) and Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland), for their dedication and efforts in the passage of legislation positively affecting rural electric cooperatives and their members.

We will continue to update you through the session in future articles. If you would like additional updates on these efforts, please sign up for our legislative alerts. Visit our Contact Us page, then submit an inquiry using the contact form and subject “Legislative Alert Sign Up.”