Question to Legislators: The new bill H4185 has been called the “Net Meter Compromise Bill” by the DOER and utility friendly media … we disagree! Our question, dear state legislators, if H4185 is truly a compromise between utilities and the solar/environmentalists, why was it drafted in secret solely by the utilities and utility sponsored out-of-state solar organizations who represent only 2% of state solar stakeholders and owners? Now we see this special interest legislation railroaded through the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy from the DOER with no public input or input from local or state organizations such as SEBANE or MASOA, for this reason alone H4185 should never have left the JCTUE for consideration by Ways & Means. So far every opportunity to speak on behalf of the rest of the 98% of the solar industry and owners has been blocked. Just yesterday (6/19/14) a closed legislative hearing on H4185 was presented by the utilities and DOER. It was open only to legislators, and prohibited to public attendance or input. Again we ask you, dear legislator, if this legislation is really going to benefit the future of solar in our state, not just the utilities and their allies, why are these hearings blocked to the majority of the solar owners/industry and the public? What do the utilities fear we, the solar stakeholder will tell you about H4185?
No doubt, you, like most other solar owners, are wondering how could the Patrick Administration and DOER have allowed the utilities to takeover the future of solar PV. There is no question the “Compromise Net Metering Bill,” must be stopped or significantly altered. It is sad to report that the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy voted with little or no discussion to approved the Utility & DOER collaboration, have sent it on to Ways & Means for additional review. Again make no mistake this legislation will negatively effect every solar owner. MASOA stands against this bill now numbered H4185 (click here for full bill text) for the following reasons, and ask everyone reading this to write their legislators to protest both the content and the process used to railroad it through the legislature for the benefit of the utilities:
- Solar owners and the local photovoltaic installers industry and other sectors were excluded from the closed-door discussions that produced this bill.
- The “Compromise Bill” is not a compromise but rather a secret sweetheart deal between the utilities, utility favored (and sponsored) solar organizations and DOER.
- The pace at which the “Compromise Bill” is being moved through disregards the ability for all stakeholders to adequately comment and make revisions.
In a surprise move, the DOER recently sat down with two utilities, NU and NGRID and two utility sponsored solar associations, SEIA and NECEC, to draft what has been titled “Compromise Net Meter Legislation” (click here). To date there is no sponsor or a bill number in either house, but what is clear is that the future of solar PV ownership incentives will be under the control of the utilities who have historically made every effort to kill solar at every opportunity, recently quoted calling solar PV owners “free-loaders” in the Boston Business Journal.
What is important to understand at this time (June 10) is that hopefully this terrible legislation will not be introduced to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee (JCTUE) by June 15 in order to be considered for vote this summer. So we are asking everyone to support S2019 / H3901 (click here) and send emails, phone calls, letters ASAP, to learn more click here.