Sen. Gene Yaw addresses the Senate Local Government Committee on Monday during a meeting to consider Senate Bill 143, legislation that would place decisions regarding restrictions on utility service in housing and commercial energy applications solely within the purview of the state.
Legislation ensuring that state residents have options when it comes to fuel availability was approved today by the Senate Local Government Committee, according to prime sponsor Sen. Gene Yaw. (PA 23rd).
Senate Bill 143, known as “Energy Choice” legislation, would limit municipal entities from banning a specific type of fuel source for appliances and heating homes or businesses. The language is fuel-neutral and is not specific to one energy source.
“It’s about consumer choice and keeping energy costs low,” Senator Yaw said. “As many states seek to ban fuel sources, such as natural gas, Pennsylvania residents have a myriad of energy options to choose from and we should keep it that way.”
Yaw noted that similar laws have been passed in other states, and bills are moving through other statehouses this year.
“It’s unfortunate that this legislation is even necessary in the first place,” Senator Yaw said. “When municipal governments start picking winners and losers, then we have a serious problem.”
“Over the past decade, natural gas utilities in Pennsylvania have added many new customers,” said Terrance J. Fitzpatrick, President and CEO, Energy Association of Pennsylvania. “These residents and businesses chose natural gas because it was the best way to meet their needs and stay within their budgets. This legislation preserves the right of citizens to make those choices, and we hope legislators of both parties will support it.”
“Pennsylvania has led this nation through every major energy transition in the past 150 years, and we are poised to continue to lead throughout the 21st century,” said Luke Bernstein, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. “As businesses execute sustainability strategies, and as state and local leaders implement economic development plans to retain and attract new businesses, it is vital that they have access to the energy resources of their choice. We appreciate Sen. Yaw’s leadership in making sure that energy choice is part of the agenda to move Pennsylvania forward.”
“We are fortunate to have a variety of energy choices, which provide us some of the lowest energy rates in the nation,” said Jeff Nobers, Executive Director of Pittsburgh Works Together, a nonpartisan alliance of labor unions, business and civic leaders working for an all-of-the-above agenda for job creation and balanced policy and regulation. “To allow local governments to restrict that choice would pit municipalities and counties against one another and create an unworkable impact on the energy, utility, and construction industries, and arguably lead to significant cost increases for energy, especially hurting the elderly and low-income residents. This bill passed with bipartisan support last year and we encourage and are hopeful that Governor Shapiro will sign it into law.”
The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
For more state-related news and information visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.