An outline of the plans says lawmakers are ready to get behind a proposal that would allow
"Financing these costs is not a 'bailout,' " the proposal says, "but rather a mechanism for the (
Last week, lawmakers abandoned the most controversial item they had considered, a proposal that would have diminished
Still, critics of the committee's current proposal said it could be a "bailout" for utilities by letting them pass costs on to customers.
"This looks like a bailout, smells like a bailout and certainly feels like a bailout," said
He and a number of agriculture and fossil fuel industry representatives spoke against the proposal because they said they feared it would drive up the cost of doing business in the state.
Ratepayer advocates, too, wanted assurances that utility investors would have to pay for a company's errors before costs are passed down to customers.
"Ratepayers cannot be insurers of last resort," said
Other recommendations in the outline released Friday center on giving homeowners more flexibility in clearing trees from their properties, setting new standards for utility fire prevention plans, boosting funding for forestry management and adjusting the state's emergency response network to pre-position firefighters and equipment in high-risk areas.
Local government, fire district and insurance industry representatives supported the proposal. Some environmental advocates generally supported it, but worried it would allow the state to harvest large trees.
The proposal does not address
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