PUC modernized to maximize benefits for ratepayers in the clean energy transition

(May 30) – A bill sponsored by Speaker KC Becker and Rep. Hansen to renew the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for the next seven years, help address the threat of climate change, and hold utility companies more accountable was signed into law today by Gov. Polis. The PUC provides regulatory oversight of public utilities in Colorado.

“This modernization will strengthen protections for consumers, prioritize safety, cut emissions, and improve efficiency and reliability while exploring various forms of grid interconnection,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “The new law requires utilities to account for the social cost of carbon in their electricity resource planning and to do a review of workforce transition plans when the closure of coal plants is accelerated in order to ensure workers and communities are supported.”

“This is a historic step forward. This law modernizes the PUC and ensures it’s prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the thriving clean energy economy. This law is a big step forward for Colorado,” said Rep. Hansen, D-Denver. “The Commission plays a pivotal environmental role and must be ready to serve all Coloradans as the market moves toward cleaner and cheaper renewable energy sources.”

The PUC is responsible for providing oversight of Colorado’s utilities and protecting Coloradans from high utility costs. In seeking to address climate change, SB19-236 will direct the PUC to consider the costs of pollution and a workforce transition plan during the utility planning process. The bill also directs the PUC to implement rules ensuring safe, reliable, and affordable services that satisfy customers’ changing expectations, and take advantage of technological advancements that benefit customers.

The landmark law specifies a minimum value for the cost of carbon pollution. Currently, nine other states employ a cost of carbon as an element of utility regulation including Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, California, Nevada, New Jersey and New York.

The bill was signed at Sunshare’s JeffCo Community Solar Garden this morning.

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