HB 3152 PUC management of greenhouse gas emissions

VOTE:NO – Died In Committee
Status (overview) of bill:https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Measures/Overview/HB3152
Committee assigned to bill:https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Committees/HCEE/Overview

This bill permits Public Utility Commission to institute one or more proceedings to ensure commission’s regulations, rules and orders, and programs overseen by commission, align with greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements and targets established by statute or executive order, do not impede or delay timely and equitable implementation of greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements and targets, and mitigate energy burden and risks of stranded assets for residential utility customers.

That’s a mouth full, but that is all it is. OPUC already is working on these issues under existing statutory requirements, except for giving statutory authority to the Governor’s Executive Order without representation. Executive orders should not be a substitute for bicameral legislative lawmaking, giving the governor power to move the goal post.

The bill declares that policy of state is to protect residential utility customers from risks of stranded fossil fuel assets and potential increases in energy burden while achieving state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Currently, electric and gas utilities are modernizing their energy systems to meet the state’s climate goals, while ensuring safe, reliable and affordable service. The Commission’s expertise in economically
regulating public utilities and managing this transitional period should not be called into question when every meeting shows commitment.

The bill prohibits, on or after January 1, 2026, use of funding from ratepayers to provide incentives or subsidies for the purchase or installation of gas appliances or devices for use by residential utility customers or line extension allowances for new gas line extensions that support use of gas in residential buildings.

This prohibition would block low-income households from known cost-saving, energy efficient solutions. High efficiency furnace replacements are the most common expense refunded within the Oregon Low Income Energy Efficiency (OLIFE) program which funds the replacement of inefficient and broken gas furnaces with high efficiency appliances. This bill is at odds with this program and at odds with forward-thinking pilot with Energy Trust of Oregon. The prohibition also goes against OPUC’s rules that historically been viewed as a positive factor for both customers and utilities.

This attack on fossil fuels is clearly a plan to create an electric monopoly that doesn’t benefit the environment, stability in energy, efficiencies, cost control, or customers in general.

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