If you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to assume that you’re someone who often receives “action alerts” from one organization or the other (such as ours), asking you to express support or opposition to some proposed government action. If you’re like me, you might sometimes think, “Aw, will it really make a difference whether I do this or not? (Notwithstanding Margaret Mead’s well-worn quote.)
What we witnessed in the House Energy Committee on Thursday provided clear evidence that the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
This was the meeting mentioned above by John, in which the committee was considering H.B. 2001, which proposes to repeal the 2009 Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (AREPS) Act. Delegate Mike Caputo told his colleagues that he’d received about 90 e-mails requesting that net metering be preserved. A few minutes later Delegate Linda Phillips spoke up, reminded everyone that she was from the coalfields, but said that she too had received about 90 e-mails pleading for the preservation of net metering.
This provided an opening that allowed us (the WVEC) to testify briefly, explaining in plain language how net metering works and the effect on net metering of repealing the entire AREPS Act. What it boils down to is this: the Public Service Commission could continue their rule requiring electric utilities to do net metering; but without a statutory mandate (which is provided in the AREPS Act), the PSC would be likely to succumb to probable pressure from the utilities to repeal the rule, and the utilities could argue that this was the Legislature’s actual intent when it repealed the statute.
Further discussion ensued, and Energy Committee members who also sit on the Judiciary Committee, which was planning to take up the bill the next day, said they would request a PSC representative to address the Judiciary Committee. As Bill told you above, that representative was PSC attorney Rick Hitt.
Bottom line, a number of House members now have a much clearer understanding of the effect of repealing net metering, and comments from both Republicans and Democrats give us optimism that net metering will in fact be retained. Great work, e-mailers!
So again, the answer is “Yes! It is worth your time to make those calls, send those e-mails and submit those comments!”
Not recalling the quote? “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”