PA Senate Advances Yaw Measure to Ensure Pennsylvania Homes, Businesses Have Access to Diverse Energy Options

HARRISBURG – Legislation ensuring that state residents have options when it comes to fuel availability was approved today by the state Senate, according to prime sponsor Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23).

Senate Bill 275, known as “Energy Choice” legislation, would limit municipal entities from banning a specific type of fuel source for appliances and heating homes or businesses.  The language is fuel-neutral and is not specific to one energy source.

“It’s about consumer choice and keeping energy costs low,” Senator Yaw said.  “As many states seek to ban fuel sources, such as natural gas, Pennsylvania residents have a myriad of energy options to choose from and we should keep it that way.”

Yaw noted that similar laws have been passed in other states, and bills are moving through other statehouses this year.

“It’s unfortunate that this legislation is even necessary in the first place,” Senator Yaw said.  “When municipal governments start picking winners and losers, then we have a serious problem.”

“Over the past decade, natural gas utilities in Pennsylvania have added many new customers,” said Terrance J. Fitzpatrick, President and CEO, Energy Association of Pennsylvania. “These residents and businesses chose natural gas because it was the best way to meet their needs and stay within their budgets. This legislation preserves the right of citizens to make those choices, and we hope legislators of both parties will support it.”

“It is imperative Pennsylvania’s businesses retain the option to have access to every energy choice in order to stay competitive in an increasingly challenging global market,” said Gene Barr, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. “As Pennsylvania’s history has shown, energy choice in the marketplace has yielded tremendous reductions in both costs and emissions, and we applaud the introduction of this legislation that will ensure those trends continue.”

“We are fortunate to have a variety of energy choices which provide us some of the lowest energy rates in the nation,” said Jeff Nobers, Executive Director of Pittsburgh Works Together, a nonpartisan alliance of labor unions, business and civic leaders working for an all-of-the-above agenda for job creation and balanced policy and regulation.  “To allow local governments to restrict that choice would pit municipalities and counties against one another and create an unworkable impact on the energy, utility, and construction industries, and arguably lead to significant cost increases for energy especially hurting the elderly and low-income residents.”

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

For more state-related news and information visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.