On Wednesday, many expected House Bill 1050, to create NC SAVE$ ENERGY, to pass quickly out of the Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee. Ultimately, we were fortunate that the bill did NOT come to a vote as the hearing did not go as anticipated.
Representative Pricey Harrison opened the committee hearing with a solid introduction of the bill’s goals, but Committee Chair Angela Bryant offered to just have a discussion about the bill with no vote “to take the pressure off.”
Earlier in the day, teams of lobbyists from the utility corporations were spotted all over the state legislature. It is obvious that House Bill 1050 has got the utilities’ attention, and in the last days, they have made it known that they do not want an organization other than themselves running energy efficiency in North Carolina.
Earlier in the week, it had seemed that a majority of the committee members would support the bill, but in the committee hearing both primary sponsor Joe Tolson of Edgecombe/Wilson County and co-sponsor Kelly Alexander of Mecklenburg County raised concerns about the bill. In addition, Representatives Samuelson (Mecklenburg) and Whilden (Buncombe), both of whom had previously supported the bill, spoke against it. It was clear that if NC SAVE$ had come to a vote on Wednesday, the outcome would not have been favorable.
It was apparent that most of the legislators had not bothered to read the bill until lobbyists from the utilities came and expressed their displeasure with it. This hearing showed more than anything else just how much power large corporations, such as the utilities, have over our state representatives, and how difficult it is to get legislators to critically analysis all the benefits an independent energy efficiency program would create.
The fight for NC SAVE$ ENERGY will continue, but we must recognize the fact that we are up against enormous corporations with almost unlimited resources. The way we must counter is with grassroots pressure, media exposure, and education of representatives.
BlueNC is dedicated to freedom and fairness for the people of North Carolina. If you share that vision, welcome. If your intention is to disrupt our efforts, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.
Dumbed Down Politicos
Exile on Jones Street
Pam's House Blend
Public Policy Polling
Talking About Politics
Turn NC Blue