by Max Brantley
On the jump, some details on key committee meetings tomorrow on energy legislation still alive -- one to provide weatherization rebates, the other a much broader initiative aimed at system-wide conservation.
From Bill Kopsky of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel:
Wednesday morning at 10am in the House Insurance and Commerce Committee (map here), Room 171 of the State Capitol, two key energy bills will come up for testimony and a vote.
We are currently plus or minus 1 or 2 votes on both bills and every bit of effort you can put into contacting your legislators on the committee and coming to the hearing will be a huge help. The vote will go either way -- we are getting heavy industry opposition.
Please do everything you can to call your lawmakers and attend the hearing.
HB1903 by Rep. Cash will provide consumers and Arkansas businesses with rebates and incentives to increase their energy efficiency through weatherizing your home, putting in new windows, buying more efficient appliances, etc.
HB1851 by Rep. Webb will lower barriers to using renewable energy in Arkansas and help consumers and businesses upgrade to renewable energy.
Very few bills will come up where there is clearer choice between serving the public good and serving narrow big special interests.
HB1903 has the support of the Governor, the Attorney General and the Chair of the Public Service Commission. It saves consumers $700 million over the next ten years, creates local jobs in construction and renovation that can't be outsourced, and will reduce our global warming impact significantly. What is not to like?
The utilities, the State Chamber of Commerce and big industrial users are attacking the bills with half-information. They point out that HB1903 will cost consumers money ($27 million by their estimate), BUT THEY'RE NOT SAYING IS IT WILL SAVE CONSUMERS UP TO $700 MILLION over the next ten years. That is a return on investment of over 20:1. Even if the savings were half of our estimate, they would still be a return on investment of over 10:1.
Please call your members of the House Insurance and Commerce Committee (map here) and ask any of your family and friends who live in these districts to also contact their legislators to support HB1903 and HB1851.