HARRISBURG – PA Chamber President Gene Barr lauded the passage of House Bill 1947 today, which passed with a bipartisan vote of 118-83 and preserves the right of an individual or business to be served by the utility and energy source of their choosing, whether it be natural gas, solar, wind, geothermal, or another option.
“Pennsylvania has a myriad of energy options available so businesses must have an option to access every energy choice to be competitive in the global market,” Barr said. “Government should not decide who gets a share of the market and what that share should be. House Bill 1947 ensures energy affordability and reliability for both businesses and consumers.”
Authored by Rep. Tim O’Neal, R-Washington, H.B. 1947 would limit local governments in Pennsylvania from restricting, prohibiting, or otherwise discriminating against a utility based on the energy source that powers it. This is a continuation and extension of long-standing public policy that energy policy is the prerogative of state government. To date, 19 states have passed legislation preempting local governments from passing such laws.
Historically, energy choice has yielded reductions in both costs and emissions. As more businesses execute sustainability strategies, state policy must afford them the continued assurance that municipal government will not unduly interfere with their ability to make use of energy choice that best serves those businesses’ needs.
Access to gas service is also vital to local economic development efforts and residential customers should be afforded access to it as well, as infrastructure buildout continues throughout the state. Local government decisions which impede energy access and raise costs on families and businesses are counterproductive and unnecessary.
The bill will now be considered by the PA Senate.