Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee meeting March 11 - news.mt.gov

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Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee meeting March 11

Monday, February 29, 2016/Categories: Legislative Branch/Tags: Energy & Telecommunications Interim Committee

The Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee (ETIC) will focus on its net metering and next-generation 9-1-1 assignments on March 11.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. in Room 317 of the State Capitol. A full agenda and meeting materials are available on the committee’s website at http://leg.mt.gov/etic.

The ETIC, as guided by House Joint Resolution No. 7, is reviewing next-generation 9-1-1 (NG911). The committee has asked stakeholders to work together on NG911 and to provide the ETIC with recommendations on planning for and implementing NG911. Since September, 9-1-1 stakeholders have met monthly to discuss NG911. They, along with an advisory council formed by the Governor, will provide the ETIC with recommendations in March.

NG911 stakeholders are developing a Montana-specific plan to assist the Legislature in beginning implementation of NG911. The 9-1-1 Advisory Council is working on legislative concepts to update Montana's 911 program to ensure the program supports current legacy 911 systems and services and the future deployment of NG911 systems and services.

ETIC members also will continue to discuss Montana's net metering policy. The ETIC continues to review aspects of Montana's net metering law in accordance with Senate Joint Resolution No. 12. The committee at the March meeting will hear from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) about grant and loan programs available to net-metered customers. The Montana Department of Revenue will discuss tax credits and abatements used by taxpayers who have distributed generation systems.

The committee will also spend time discussing the SJ 12 study information received to-date. The committee has gathered information from stakeholders about the costs and benefits of net metering in Montana, learned about various rate design methodologies, reviewed the economic development impacts of net metering, and analyzed safety and reliability issues related to distributed generation. With the information, the committee members will begin focusing on potential study findings and recommendations for further review in May.

The ETIC is also tracking legislation in the states of Washington and Oregon that would impact the continued use of coal-fired generation from the Colstrip Generating Station. The committee sent Senators Duane Ankney (R-Colstrip) and Cliff Larsen (D-Missoula) to Olympia to attend a hearing on Senate Bill No. 6248 on January 20.

For more information on committee activities and the next meeting visit the committee’s website or contact Sonja Nowakowski, committee staff at 444-3078 or snowakowski@mt.gov.

Members of the Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee are Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip; Sen. Pat Connell, R-Hamilton, Sen. Robyn Driscoll, D-Billings; Sen. Cliff Larsen, D-Missoula; Rep. Chris Pope, D-Bozeman; Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell; Rep. Tom Steenberg, D-Missoula; and Rep. Daniel Zolnikov R-Billings.

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