Today, North Carolina House leadership shared the first public bill draft of comprehensive energy reform legislation following months of stakeholder negotiations. NCSEA is appreciative of its inclusion in the stakeholder process and grateful to House leaders for facilitating robust discussion around critical energy issues. While there are important provisions in the bill that provide greater market access to affordable renewable energy for utility customers, NCSEA opposes the bill due to problematic implications arising from four key provisions. These problematic provisions, as shared among stakeholders, can be improved in the following ways:
- Eliminate mandate to replace costly coal with risky natural gas. Allow the Utilities Commission to effectively regulate the regulated monopoly utility;
- Eliminate $50 million subsidy for costly and unproven new nuclear generation at the expense of ratepayers;
- Establish reasonable guardrails to prevent utility over-earning at customer expense; and
- Ensure utility securitization of retired coal plants to responsibly exit uneconomic generation off the grid while controlling customer costs.
“NCSEA would like to thank House Republican leaders for including us in their stakeholder process over the past several months — this draft bill represents an important starting point as we continue to work toward an affordable, cleaner energy future for all North Carolinians,” said NCSEA Executive Director Ward Lenz. “We believe there are clear opportunities to improve this legislation to better protect our state’s electricity customers while still empowering electric utilities to continue providing reliable energy generation.”
NCSEA and our members look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with legislators, Governor Cooper, and additional stakeholders in the coming days and weeks to address these important issues concerning ratepayers. Hopefully, if addressed, these improvements will ultimately allow for strong, bipartisan support of legislation that the Governor will sign.