Public Advocate’s warnings go unheeded, expect even higher bills
Today I would like to address something that is affecting all Mainers.
The first session of the 131st Legislature just concluded without addressing the problem of rising electric bills, despite Republican attempts to lower costs.
Since the Public Advocate’s warnings went unheeded, listeners should expect even higher electric bills.
The Legislature’s inaction means that skyrocketing bills will go even higher because regular consumers pay more money to subsidize commercial solar installation.
This is Lucas Lanigan of Sanford with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
What started out as a way to encourage rooftop solar power for homeowners has now turned into a windfall for large commercial projects subsidized by Maine rate payers.
But it is not rooftop solar anymore. It is a way for out-of-state companies to make money off inefficient solar arrays and so called “community” solar.
Maine’s net energy billing system forces ratepayers to subsidize commercial solar projects through payment of above market rates.
According to the non-partisan Public Advocate, ratepayers pay approximately 20 cents/kWh for solar energy that costs the developer 10 cents/kWh to generate.
According to the Public Utilities Commission, the cost of solar power under the Net Energy Billing program is estimated to have a net cost to rate payers of nearly $500 million by 2026.
The Office of the Public Advocate warned the Legislature that if nothing was done, Net Energy Billing will cost ratepayers approximately $220 million a year for the next 20 years. That translates to $275 a ratepayer per year.
Republicans proposed legislation to eliminate those cost increases.
When it became apparent that majority Democrats would not do that, we worked on a compromise with the Public Advocates office and a handful of sympathetic Democrats.
That proposal passed the House but failed in the Senate.
The Democrat leaders and solar industry lobbyists that run the show in Augusta are seemingly ok with electric rates going up because it makes their chosen generation sources more viable. We all pay more for their agenda.
The Legislature is not in session again until January.
Republicans hope that listeners will make their displeasure with rising electric bills known to their representatives in the coming months.
Legislative Republicans stand ready to work with the Democrats that worked with us to try and lower costs and, hopefully, new converts willing to pass legislation to lower electric bills.
This has been Lucas Lanigan with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
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