Jun. 16, 2023

DALLAS – The integrity and reliability of Pennsylvania’s electric grid were the focus of a House Republican Policy Committee hearing held in Dallas, Luzerne County, today, co-hosted by Reps. Mike Cabell (R-Luzerne) and Jonathan Fritz (R-Wayne/Susquehanna). The two-hour hearing, which was led by Committee Chairman Joshua D. Kail (R-Beaver), took place at Back Mountain Regional EMA.

“This is an incredibly important topic,” said Cabell. “This area and other parts of Pennsylvania are going to play a really pivotal role in the reliability of our electric grid, and we need to proceed in a way that benefits the Commonwealth’s economy and its residents.”

“We need a reliable, on-demand electrical delivery system, and right now that consists of natural gas, nuclear, coal, and hopefully in the near future, hydrogen,” Fritz told the committee. “We also need to be realistic. There is a place in our portfolio for renewable energy.”

Committee members heard testimony regarding future trends and their impact on Pennsylvania’s electric grid. Also discussed was the state’s possible implementation of a new energy tax and the resulting consumer rate increases predicted by some financial experts.

“Pennsylvania has long been a leader in powering the country’s grid, but a $663 million energy tax will dismantle any chance of progressing as a Commonwealth,” said Kail. “While demand continues to skyrocket, our supply is decreasing due to the threat of a massive new energy tax supported by Gov. Josh Shapiro and House Democrats. By providing homegrown electricity and energy, we can be a reliable source and boost our economy at the same time.”

Several speakers expressed concern about Pennsylvania’s energy future, including PJM Interconnection, which operates the state’s electric grid.

“The generation fueled by coal and natural gas that we rely upon to balance the grid is retiring at a significant rate,” said Stephen Bennett, PJM manager of regulatory and legislative affairs. “Electrification of the transportation, industrial and building sectors is poised to create material load growth. Our region is also experiencing significant data center construction, which is creating major pockets of increasing demand on the system.”

“Without question, our grid is profoundly impacted by state and federal energy policies designed to force the premature closure of reliable, baseload thermal generation and replacement with unreliable, intermittent wind and solar power. This is a train wreck in the works,” testified Robert Bair, Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council president.

Bair urged the committee to develop a state energy plan. He said former Gov. Tom Wolf’s failure to do so led to his proposal to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Other testifiers included Glen Thomas, GT Power Group president; and George Stark, Coterra Energy director of external affairs. The testimony gathered during the hearing will now be considered by lawmakers as they develop related legislation.

“As policymakers and stakeholders, we need to focus on three areas moving forward: Expansion, not transition; crawl, walk, run; and let the market decide,” concluded Cabell. “If that happens, we will be in a really good spot here in Pennsylvania.”

“Thank you to Representatives Cabell and Fritz for holding this forum, as well as the testifiers for providing tremendous insight on how current events are impacting everyday lives,” said Kail.

A video recording of the hearing is available for viewing at PAGOPPolicy.com.

Representative Mike Cabell
117th Legislative District

RepCabell.com / Facebook.com/RepMikeCabell
Representative Jonathan Fritz
111th Legislative District

RepFritzPA.com / Facebook.com/RepFritz
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Cabell Media Contact: Andy Briggs 717-260-6474
Fritz Media Contact: Jordan Walters 717-260-6528