The past year has challenged both our state and country in ways we never thought possible. Our economy, health care systems, and social norms were all tested as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, unprecedented events also create opportunities for us to thrive or fail. We chose to thrive and work together to come back stronger than ever.
President Biden has offered a vision through his Build Back Better proposal and Governor Lamont has also shared his vision for a Connecticut comeback investing in an infrastructure overhaul that promotes economic growth and job creation across the state.
Improvements that include transportation, energy, and broadband infrastructures are critical to help improve our quality of life to ensure that all the new and long-time residents who have chosen Connecticut as their home stay here.
We should capitalize on the opportunity to use federal money coming to the state to make these critical investments while at the same time saving ratepayer dollars.
Using federal dollars to make upgrades to our power grid to improve resiliency and reliability is a smart move. Doing so will not only make Connecticut more attractive to businesses but will also save ratepayers long term because the federal dollars would not be subject to cost recovery from the utilities.
This idea would save customers from paying the weighted average cost of capital, which is closer to 7%, plus carrying costs during the time over which the investments would have otherwise been amortized.
$500 million to advance metering infrastructure and storage programs would go a very long way toward giving ratepayers across the state a tangible resilience benefit within the next 18 – 24 months.
We recommend that PURA be given the discretion to finalize the awards process if this idea came to fruition, to ensure that the funding is appropriately allocated. This approach would be more suitable than going to the utilities to gold-plate a system so as not to have as big of a hit on their capital expenditure plans.
We believe this is an important component because utility companies will not be properly motivated to spend the money wisely, since it will impact their rate base and potential profits. And as our utilities have shown us, they tend to be only motivated by profits.
This is just one concept out of many that will be presented to the legislature and the Governor on how we can utilize the billions in federal dollars coming into the state to truly ensure a strong Connecticut comeback.
We look forward to working with the Governor and all our colleagues to do what is right for our ratepayers and the state.
State Rep. David Arconti
State Sen. Norman Needleman
Energy and Technology Committee, Chairs