Civitas Review

NC House Committee Votes for Higher Energy Bills, Continued Corporate Welfare


The well-financed special interest lobbyists of Big Solar won again today, at the expense of everybody else.

House Bill 681, the NC Energy Ratepayers Protection Act, a bill that would have capped and sunset a state law forcing NC energy users to purchase more expensive and unreliable sources of "renewable" energy, was defeated in the House Public Utilities Committee.

A government mandate forcing utilities to provide a minimum percentage of its energy from so-called renewable energy sources – like solar – is corporate welfare plain and simple. Energy users across the state – from low-income apartments to big businesses – pay more for their energy in order to further enrich wealthy investors employing lobbyists to game the system in their favor. Low-income families are disproportionately hardest hit because they spend a larger share of their household income on energy bills.

Moreover, higher energy costs on business discourage investment and job creation, reducing the number of employment options – especially for those low-skilled, low-income people on the margins of employment.

Indeed, a recent study conducted by Strata Policy in conjunction with Utah State University’s Institute of Political Economy concluded that North Carolina’s renewables mandate has cost the state 24,000 jobs and $14.4 billion in personal income. Higher energy bills on commercial and industrial ratepayers discouraged investment and job creation, resulting in household income being roughly $3,900 lower by 2013 than it would have been absent the mandate.

The Committee voted against the Ratepayer Protection Act by a vote of 16-14. All 11 of the committee's Democrats rejected the bill, joined by five Republicans: Sam Watford (R-Davidson), Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Chris Malone (R-Wake), Kelly Hastings (R-Cleveland) and John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg).

One Comment on this post

  • James Kantor says:
    Apr 23 at 20:08

    What twisted thinking. Only clean energy can help North Carolina. Coal is not cheap when you include the damage it does from air pollution. Clean Renewable increase investment in North Carolina. People want clean air and clean water. Coal can not provide for us. Just look at the coal ash problem alone. We need more hydroelectric, wind and solar project for North Carolina. Let NC be first in renewables.

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