HB 589; ACR - Competitive Energy Solutions for NC

House Bill 589, Competitive Energy Solutions for NC Despite its name, this bill is anything but competitive or a solution. Most troubling is an entirely new program, the Solar Rebate Program on page 17 of the bill. This program is very similar to the expired tax credits NC was offering, except in this case instead of the taxpayer paying for them, it will be utility customers paying through their electric bills.

Other provisions in the bill include: lifting the state’s ban on third-party leasing, promoting net metering, shortening the terms of contracts between utilities and “renewable” energy providers, and introducing a competitive bidding process for utilities soliciting proposals from “renewable” facility developers.

While we can acknowledge aspects of the bill, like competitive bidding and shortening contract terms, may be beneficial to ratepayers, the troubling nature of the rebate program in particular creates concern enough for Civitas Action to oppose this bill.
Civitas Action opposes government mandates and subsidies in any industry, especially in the energy industry which affects all businesses and citizens across the state. We urge our legislators to either kill this bill or take prudent and reasonable action and turn it into a study bill to make sure they get the legislation right.

NOTE: After the original version of the bill was approved by the House (and votes graded by Civitas Action), a conference substitute bill was created. The original substitute bill was deemed “neutral” by Civitas Action, but changes to the substitute moved the bill closer to the original House version (changes such as shortening the wind energy moratorium and increasing the solar mandate). As such, Civitas Action graded the Senate vote on the updated conference bill. (Civitas Action will retain the original House vote as the graded vote because more votes were cast.)
The conservative vote on both versions of the bill is no.

House Votes on original bill, Senate vote on Conference substitute
House: 2R, RCS #585 (108-11)
Senate: ACR, RCS #523 (36-4)