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Legislation tackling rising electric rates to be released in General Assembly

Wind and water are of no short supply in the Cape Region. That may become increasingly important as lawmakers address what can only be called a crisis in energy costs in Delaware. A package of four bills is to be released for review March 23 to address a proposed rate hike by Delmarva Power, estimated at 59 percent for residential customers and over 100 percent for businesses.

Alternative energy is high on the priority list as legislators struggle with reeling in the growing cost of heating, cooling, lighting and running a home.

Through combined efforts of the governor’s office and legislative leaders, deals appear to be in place to phase in the current announced rate hikes over two years, with a 15 percent increase May 2006 and another 25 percent increase in January 2007.

“There is no cheap energy currently. Delmarva Power is not making a killing on this,” said Rep. Robert Valihura, R-Talleyville, of the dominant power provider in Delaware. Valihura, chair of the House Energy Committee said he plans to hold two committee hearings this month to gather public input.

“Whether causes for concern or suggestions for improvements, we want citizens to tell us what they think about these proposals.,” said Valihura calling the legislation a result of bipartisan cooperation by the House, Senate and governor’s office.

Said Valihura “I’m confident that this consensus package is something that the majority of legislators in both chambers will be able to support.”

Combined in the package are ideas encouraging and promoting the use of renewable electric generation facilities and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Alternative energy is high on the priority list as legislators struggle with reeling in the growing cost of heating, cooling, lighting and running a home.
 
Through combined efforts of the governor’s office and legislative leaders, deals appear to be in place to phase in the current announced rate hikes over two years, with a 15 percent increase May 2006 and another 25 percent increase in January 2007.
 
“There is no cheap energy currently. Delmarva Power is not making a killing on this,” said Rep. Robert Valihura, R-Talleyville, of the dominant power provider in Delaware. Valihura, chair of the House Energy Committee said he plans to hold two committee hearings this month to gather public input.
 
“Whether causes for concern or suggestions for improvements, we want citizens to tell us what they think about these proposals.,” said Valihura calling the legislation a result of bipartisan cooperation by the House, Senate and governor’s office.
 
Said Valihura “I’m confident that this consensus package is something that the majority of legislators in both chambers will be able to support.”
 
Combined in the package are ideas encouraging and promoting the use of renewable electric generation facilities and alternate energy technologies by residential and commercial consumers. Upgrading transmission lines below the Chesapeake & Delaware. Increasing the capacity to transport additional electricity supply and eliminate congestion on the Delmarva Peninsula are also integral elements of the plan. Also, Delaware may require electric companies, including Delmarva Power, to file 10 year pricing plans for review by customers.
 
“This is the best response I can see at this point, but I need to emphasize this is just a starting point. I look forward to the public hearing process to see if Delaware agrees or has any suggestions for improvements,” said House Majority Leader Wayne Smith, R, South Dover.
 
A problematic element of the bills is charging interest to customers during the deferral period. But supporters of the governor’s plan including Sen. Robert Venables, D-Laurel said, “ At least it will ease some of the pain and give consumers time to adjust.” The governor concurs. “Environmental constraints impact the state’s ability to site new fossil fuel power plants and sole reliance on petroleum-based fuel,” said Minner.
 
Minner said her administration is encouraging the development of clean, base load electric supply on the Delmarva Peninsula and encouraging a diverse fuel mix among electricity supply generation to avoid reliability on fossil fuels. As the debate between Delmarva Power and Delaware lawmakers continue, many share the concern of shortages of nonrenewable and inefficient energy resources
 
“Growth and inefficient energy usage are major factors for this state and beyond,” said Valihura.


Source: http://www.capegazette.com/...

MAR 30 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1951-legislation-tackling-rising-electric-rates-to-be-released-in-general-assembly
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