Update from Harrisburg on Ross’s solar bill #1580
Maureen Mulligan - PASEIA
Far from an idle summer for solar, much work has been done by those of you who worked hard to get your House Member and others to co-sponsor Representative Chris Ross ’solar bill to shift the requirement to allow for more solar from 2013-2015 and close the borders to out of state projects paid for by Pennsylvania consumers. By July 4th, shortly after the legislature adjourned for the summer, we had 68 co-sponsors on his draft bill. As of this writing, there is what I believe to be a record number of co-sponsors, 100 strong! (If you are a PASEIA member and would like the current co-sponsor list, contact Ron Celentano at CelentanoR@aol.com). In order to get a bill passed in the House, 102 votes are needed. Assuming all the co-sponsors actually vote in favor of the Ross bill, only two additional votes are needed for it to move to the State Senate but it has to get through committee and onto the House floor for a vote first. It is important to note that we can’t assume that everyone who co-sponsors will automatically vote for the bill especially if the language changes from what legislators signed on to support. I expect it will be assigned to the Consumer Affairs Committee headed by Representative Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery). The list of members on this committee are shown below, along with their contact numbers.
Representative Ross plans to introduce the bill today – 10/3/2011. In addition, PASEIA is working with the Senate to introduce a companion bill. The Governor has scheduled an announcement for today on the Marcellus Shale impact fee so it will important to let legislators know it is important to move HB #1580 now since Marcellus Shale is the biggest energy issue for most legislators.
The best way to follow developments on HB#1580 is to check the PASEIA blog and your email for updates and actions. PASEIA members should make sure they have their passwords updated (RE: www.MSEIA.net website access) in case additional information and talking points are available on that part of the site. These bills will NOT get passed without strong and persistent public support. The opposition is already mounting to oppose the bill based on information that it will raise rates. This message can resonate with legislators. If we let the opposition’s numbers stand unchallenged, we will lose. Although it is very difficult to accurately predict the exact cost to make these modest changes to the solar portion of the AEPS, Ron Celentano and others have spent time attempting to quantify the price of SRECs if the bill passes. This average SREC price can be analyzed to assess average ratepayer impact. The impact may seem small to you but it is important to be sensitive to what ANY rate increase can have on Pennsylvanians. PASEIA’s projected rate impacts on PA customers from HB1580 will be presented soon.
It is important if you are in a solar business to tell your story, particularly as it relates to jobs. If you have a solar system, it is also important to talk about how the low SREC prices have or will affect the cost of your system. If you are a supporter of solar, it is important legislators know that solar is supported in Pennsylvania. Stay involved.
My opinion is that if HB #1580 doesn’t get passed by both Chambers (House and Senate) and is signed by the Governor by the end of the year, it will be too late to have real impact.
Below are the members on the Consumer Affairs Committee. We will put out the schedule of when House and Senate are currently scheduled to be in Harrisburg and by default, when they may be in their home districts. Contact them today.
Minority (Room 202 IOB)
Preston, Joseph, Jr. , Democratic Chair 717-783-1017
Brennan, Joseph F. , Democratic Secretary 717-772-9902
Burns, Frank, Subcommittee Democratic Chair on Telecommunications 717-772-8056
DePasquale, Eugene, Subcommittee Democratic Chair on Public Utilities 717-787-7514
Barbin, Bryan 717-783-1491
Kotik, Nick 717-783-3780Matzie, Robert F. 717-787-4444
Go to www.mseia.net to donate online to PA Campaign: Saving Solar in PA
Thank you.Maureen Mulligan, PSEIA