General Assembly OKs Sosnowski, Filippi legislation to create Block Island Utility District
STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and House Minority Whip Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) that would create the Block Island Utility District. The measure now heads to the governor’s office.
The legislation (2017-S 0729A, 2017-H 6103) would create the Block Island Utility District to provide utility products and services to the town of New Shoreham. Under the legislation, the utility district will have the power to acquire Block Island Power Company (BIPCO) assets and to produce, purchase, acquire, distribute, and sell electricity at wholesale or retail.
“Last year, the town of New Shoreham acquired a two-thirds interest in BIPCO,” said Senator Sosnowski. “This legislation is the next step in helping the island to create a non-profit entity to handle power distribution on the island — something that became more feasible with the Deepwater Wind turbine project.”
After New Shoreham acquired an interest in BIPCO, it was decided the best way to proceed was with a quasi-government agency modeled on the Pascoag Utility District in Burrillville.
“The creation of a ratepayer-owned co-op is the necessary next step now that the Town of New Shoreham controls BIPCO,” said Rep. Filippi. “Securing General Assembly approval was no easy feat. Without the tireless advocacy of many people, especially Ken Lacoste, Norris Pike and the entire Town Council, Shirlyne Gobern, Nancy Dodge, Barbara MacMullan and Sue Sosnowski, who is a true champion of Block Island, this bill would not have passed. A co-op affords us many unique opportunities to generate savings for our families, neighbors and businesses —and I look forward to the collaboration and hard work ahead to make it happen.”
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903