HARRISBURG – The Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and its chairman, Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), unanimously supported his bill as amended that would allow micro-grid pilot projects to be developed by electric utility companies with Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approval.
A micro-grid is a method of onsite power generation capable of near instantaneous start-up and ramping. It can operate when connected to the electric grid or in island mode, as well as switch seamlessly between the two options.
Part of the amendment, drafted in response to concerns expressed by stakeholders, would require a report to be developed by the PUC and provided to the General Assembly five years after approval of the first pilot project. The report must include a cost/benefit analysis and specific criteria upon which energy storage and micro-grids should be developed and deployed. Information provided in the report must also detail whether micro-grids and energy storage are in the public’s best interest.
“It’s important to provide resiliency in the provision of electricity for our emergency responders, especially during power outages. We all know that medical issues and other emergencies don’t stop during outages. In fact, they can be more frequent, with vulnerable citizens being exposed to more extreme temperatures and a lack of food and necessities,” Barrar said.
Another part of the amendment would allow electric utilities to recover reasonable costs, with any proceeds being directed back to the ratepayers.
Committee members expressed some trepidation about the billing structure, but also pointed to the benefits people would receive, such as timely restoration of power in an outage.
Another bill that passed the committee would enhance the Pennsylvania Memorial Trust Fund to better preserve monuments and memorials dedicated to veterans and military personnel in the Commonwealth, in addition to those located overseas. An identical bill passed in 2017.
As both bills received unanimous support in committee, they will now face a vote in the House.
To view footage of the House Veterans’ Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee’s meeting, click here
Representative Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans