Connecticut’s utilities commission is the latest to begin offering payments to help environmental justice and ratepayer groups participate in regulatory proceedings.

The Stakeholder Group Compensation Program was required to take effect this month as part of an energy consumer protection bill passed by the state legislature last year. It seeks to encourage more diverse engagement in proceedings on utility regulation, which can set direction for grid resiliency, rate relief, clean energy development, corporate accountability, storm response and more.

“The process of engaging with proceedings at public utility commissions across the nation is historically exclusive,” wrote Jayson Velazquez, the climate and energy justice policy associate with the nonprofit Acadia Center, in comments on the PURA docket creating the new program. “Compensation can play a significant role in ensuring diverse stakeholders are included in proceedings, specifically at PURA.”

In the Acadia Center’s comments on the new program’s docket, Velazquez said PURA should also begin a broader look at equity and inclusion across all of its work, similar to a docket now underway in Hawaii.

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