Press Release From NC Defenders In Response To The Signing Of Bill 951 – Appalachian Voices


CONTACT:

Josh mcclenney, josh[at]appvoices.org, (919) 454-1560


A bill drafted by North Carolina lawmakers behind closed doors was enacted on Wednesday. House Bill 951 sets an ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 and directs the North Carolina Utilities Commission to take all necessary steps to achieve this goal by creating a plan to reduce carbon emissions. Advance Carolina, Appalachian Voices and the Center for Biological Diversity strongly opposed the bill in part because of the potential for significant cost increases to taxpayers and the potential to give Duke Energy the power to approve, reject or modify the NCUC’s carbon reduction plan, potentially delaying or preventing the state from meeting its targets. The groups issued the following statement in response.

The compromise bill presents marginal improvements over previous versions of the bill, but in many ways it is still insufficient. The legislation shows Governor Cooper and his administration’s continued commitment to take the necessary actions outlined in Executive Order 80 and the Clean Energy Plan to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, the bill does not address the affordability issues that already plague low and moderate income households, and which will worsen as a result of the new law.

Going forward, the Governor, Duke Energy, the North Carolina Utilities Commission and our elected lawmakers must be vocal advocates and champions for programs and reforms that support low and moderate income households and reduce the cost of electricity. for all taxpayers. Specifically, we strongly recommend the following:

  • Creating a percentage of income payment plan to directly address affordability issues by capping electricity bills for low-income people at an affordable percentage of household income;
  • The study and potential formation of a competitive regional wholesale market, which many studies have found, could save taxpayers millions of dollars per year;
  • Increased and transparent reporting on utility shutdowns and utility bill debt;
  • Increased opportunities for shared and community solar power that will benefit taxpayers of all classes as we continue to move towards a cleaner energy future and ensure that no one is left behind;
  • Opportunity for public input through a clear and transparent process of public hearings and electronic submission of public comments.

Estimate:

Jovita Lee, Senior Campaigner on Environmental Justice at the Center for Biological Diversity: “It’s pretty much the same with Duke Energy. The law completely ignores those they serve in the name of greed. This bill has been heavily criticized by environmental organizations, justice and fairness advocates, manufacturers and many others, and failure to address their concerns only terrorizes families and homeowners. companies. They will pay even more for already unaffordable energy bills without seeing much benefit. Our legislators and the NCUC must stay the course and ensure that our regulation and implementation going forward correct the loopholes in this legislation. “

Josh McClenney, Field Coordinator for Energy Democracy at Appalachian Voices: “HB 951 sets a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2030 and gives the commission the power to achieve it, but the legislation also provides enough power and oversight to Duke Energy to prevent that goal does not become a reality. Additionally, the failure to address the concerns of low and moderate income taxpayers demonstrates the need for the NCUC, Duke Energy, the Governor and all stakeholders to focus on addressing the concerns of these taxpayers. We look forward to working in partnership to achieve this goal. “

La’Meshia Whittington, Deputy Director of Advance Carolina: “Noble promises have been made by Duke Energy, the NC Utilities Commission and lawmakers that there will be next steps to put our communities first, ensuring low to moderate income taxpayers have the resources they need. to pay their energy bill. We’re here to keep that pledge accountable, and these are the next steps to ensure the pledge is kept for the people of North Carolina. Our communities need financial help, not a loan program or financing that would make their debt worse. Our communities deserve the opportunity to give the public their opinion on the programs designed for them.


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