by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 26 April 2007) – Four House Democrats are introducing legislation that would put into place Governor Rendell’s energy independence proposal.
Representatives Eugene DePasquale of York, Bud George of Clearfield, Mike Gerber of Montgomery and John Hornaman of Erie are introducing various components of the administration’s plan, with minor tweaking.
If the initiative now has four faces in addition to the governor’s, it also has a symbol. At a press conference, Rendell asked George to hold up a so-called "smart meter" that would more accurately measure household energy use.
"This smart meter will regulate when energy is used or not used in the household, keeping energy use out of the peak industrial hours, and therefore saving the average residential customer over $70 a year," Rendell said.
The Democratic whip said he thinks there’s plenty of support for the whole package in the House, but GOP spokesman Steve Miskin is not as sure.
"Republicans are looking at alternatives, but alternatives that are not as costly and alternatives that are market-driven. And we are hoping to unveil that in the next couple of weeks."
The $850 million proposal would use money from a small consumer user fee to secure borrowing toward expanding the state’s clean energy production and technology industries.