North Carolina’s clean energy bill HB951 must put families over utility shareholders
North Carolina’s House Bill 951 has passed the House, 57-49, but fails to meet the mark for advancing healthy, affordable clean energy for North Carolina families.
This summer, North Carolina House representatives released House Bill 951 after weeks of negotiations with a small set of stakeholders. The bill’s elements that target retiring North Carolina’s coal plants and expanding solar power are key to achieving the clean, healthy, and affordable energy system envisioned in Governor Cooper’s Clean Energy Plan. But despite some encouraging elements, HB951 misses the mark.
While H951’s fate in the Senate is uncertain, Governor Roy Cooper’s statements have been clear and direct: the bill falls short on clean energy and weakens oversight over monopoly electric utilities. We agree with Governor Cooper. This bill can and must be better if it’s going to work for North Carolina families over utility shareholders. At a minimum, a strong energy bill should:
- Avoid mandating risky new gas plants
- Expand, rather than restrict, financial tools for transitioning off of coal
- Protect regulators’ oversight over monopoly utility rate hikes
- Provide protections for energy-burdened families
Because this legislation would have far-reaching impacts on all North Carolina communities, it’s also important that all communities have a seat at the table and a chance to benefit from the clean energy transition. As written, the bill passed by the House does not meet that standard.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on H951 as it makes its way through the Senate. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our work toward a thriving clean energy economy for North Carolina.