HB 340 & HB 747 Hearing 2-8-17 Summary Report
HB 340 & HB 747 Hearing Held Wed. 2-8-2017 Summary Report -
Missouri’s Legislature is fast-tracking a wide series of 16+ energy bills to raise energy rates while shutting down solar and wind power before it gets a foothold in the state’s power supply, leaving coal and nuclear in the dust.
Amid the upheaval in news this is being carried out with efficient haste, quiet, & under the radar of renewable energy advocates and organizations, news media and the public.
Two of the 16 or more house bills, HB 340 and 747, whisking their way through the chambers were discussed at the Capitol in House Hearing Room 5 from 5 -7 PM. Further hearings to be scheduled for one or both house bills.
HB 340 would rewrite the Net Metering and Easy Connection Act to subject solar system owners to increased rates and fees. It would exempt rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities with less than 20,000 meters from providing net metering for their members who wish to install a solar system.
See Midwest Energy News - Bill Backed By Rural Missouri Coops on Net Metering
A Hearing on HB 340 was held on Wed 2-8-17 at 6 to 7 PM in House Hearing Room 5 that was attended by an overflow turnout of industry, consumer and environmental organizations, and concerned citizens to share their views. Further comments will be heard at a follow-up hearing to be scheduled.
HB 340 Sponsor Representative Travis Fitzwater, District 59, presented the summary of the bill, followed by attorney and author Brent Stuart of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC).
SB 190 would add to the increase in electricity rates in another measure sought by Ameren Missouri and other utilities, totaling about another $99/year in charges for fuel adjustments and transmission line to their residential customers bills. The Consumer Council of Missouri was among those who spoke in opposition of the increase, according to Missourians Face Major Hikes to Utility Bills in the St. Louis American.
For more on the raft of energy bills see links to Energy Legislation in:
ACEC Missouri Bill Tracking, Show Me Solar Blog, 2017 Missouri Sierra Club Legislative Tracker, Missouri Coalition for the Environment Energy Bills, and Bob Solger in Rates May Not Shine So Bright on Solar-Powered homes in Kansas and Missouri in the Kansas City Star, October 2015
Nor is Ameren leaving it in the capable hands of the Legislature to push through all the Making its way through the Public Service Commission is an Ameren rate Hike measure that flew past in January leaving many Missourians unprepared to attend the PSC Public Hearings.
“We have seen evidence in recent years that Ameren continues to earn more than it is authorized as a monopoly utility. Yet, it still seeks to charge Missouri customers more, who have no other avenues to purchase utilities,” said Sen. Libla. “These increases jeopardize the ability of local businesses to operate, and fall most heavily on the backs of struggling families.” SEMO!net – PSC – Ameren Electric Rate Hearings.
“The Renewable Energy Standards overwhelmingly passed in 2008 by Missouri voters to support solar and wind in Missouri would be effectively overturned by bills like HB 340 and SB 140 for the sole benefit of the utility industry,” said Show Me Solar founder Jeff Owens, who testified at the SB 190 Senate Hearing and submitted public comments to the PSC in opposition to the Ameren Rate hike requests. “In contrast, Missouri citizens, organizations, and businesses have worked hard to establish sustainable energy that will create green jobs, businesses, promote the economy for the benefit of all Missourians.”