South Carolina - Oppose H.B. 4421

April 3, 2018

Dear Legislators,

You will soon debate H.B. 4421.  On behalf of the 22,876 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in South Carolina, I urge you to oppose this legislation, as I did in my March 21 email. 

H.B. 4421 would pad the pockets of wealthy solar companies while punishing utility shareholders, and would upset the careful balance that was struck four years ago unanimously by the legislature when it enacted the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act (Act 236).  Electric utilities, the business community, environmentalists, and the solar industry worked together to gather support for that legislation.  Under Act 236, utilities agreed to provide a net-metering subsidy to the 2 percent cap for customers enrolled by 2020. 

This subsidy is currently a small part of the bill of every utility customer, and was meant to help the solar energy industry grow until it could stand on its own feet.  But H.B. 4421 seeks to expand the subsidy and shift the increased cost entirely to utility shareholders.  Utility shareholders need a predictable investment environment, not unjust punishment by their state government. 

Act 236 helped to establish South Carolina as a leader in renewable energy, and the state is well positioned to continue that leadership.  South Carolina’s solar energy success comes mostly from the creativity of its people, the state’s beautiful climate, and its business-friendly atmosphere, the development of which has long been an admirable focus of Palmetto State legislators.  The solar industry has been immensely profitable for its wealthy investors, and it does not need any more corporate welfare.

South Carolina politicians should not be falling for the tricks of West Coast energy tycoons and making the state’s energy market more like California’s. 

Instead of doling out expensive and wasteful benefits to solar companies, legislators in South Carolina should continue to ensure a competitive, free, and fair energy market.

The best way to achieve that objective is to oppose H.B. 4421.

Sincerely,

Thomas A. Schatz

 

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