Proposed New Energy Tax
Posted by Daren Bakst at 4:22 PM
If you weren't spending enough for your energy needs, a proposed bill (HB 1050) would add another new energy tax. The purpose of the tax would be to create energy efficiency programs.
This new duplicative tax would be added despite SB 3, which already has mandated that utilities develop new energy efficiency programs. An example of one of these programs is Duke's Save-a-Watt program, which hasn't even been approved yet.
HB 1050 would have an independent administrator run energy efficiency programs, as opposed to the utilities.
Instead of replacing the utilities with an independent administrator, the bill would have both an independent administrator and the utilities run energy efficiency programs. These programs, in simple terms, charge customers extra for electricity and then provide these same customers incentives for doing the "right" thing when it comes to energy use.
I don't support any of these energy efficiency programs or any energy taxes. However, I do understand the motivation for having an independent administrator in lieu of utilities running these energy efficiency programs--an independent administrator would cost customers far less than what Duke is proposing with its Save-A-Watt program.
Many organizations pushing this independent administrator idea wanted the Utilities Commission to allow an independent administrator to run the energy efficiency programs instead of the utilities under SB 3. However, the statutory language doesn't allow this, as I argued (along with others), and the Commission agreed.
Instead of making a change to SB 3 to have an independent administrator, not utilities, run these programs, there is this push for both to run these programs. This makes no sense.
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