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Net metering threatened

Net metering threatened

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Letter to the editor icon2

Letter to the editor icon2

Net metering threatened

Opposing House Bill 359, which if passes will kill Net Electric Metering in Montana.

This bill is being heard in the Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee. There are no defensible reasons to advance this bad bill, and there are a number of reasons to kill it, among them the following:

This Bill is anti-business. The solar electric industry in Montana has been supported by positive policy, including the existing net metering policy in place since 1999. This policy was passed overwhelmingly, a bipartisan recognition of the overall benefits of net metering. Since 1999, numerous attempts to replace net metering with anti-business policy have been made, all have been ultimately rejected. This Bill is just the most recent attempt to kill a growing industry in Montana.

This Bill is anti-independence. People who install net metered electric generation systems install the systems because they are interested in self-determination and personal independence from monopolistic electric utilities. Changing the present net metering policy will remove a large economic incentive people have to generate their own electricity, and so will depress self-determination.

This bill will encourage people to disconnect from the utility, depriving the utility of its customers. Many people who have invested heavily in self generation, when faced with the punishing change wrought by this bill, will no doubt choose to invest in energy storage systems which are becoming more prevalent. Net metering policy now is a matter of “a part of something is better than all of nothing”.

This bill bypasses established rate-making and regulatory process. We have a Public Service Commission for a reason, that is to provide regulation of businesses which are natural monopolies. If we are to circumvent the regulatory process then why have the PSC? Not only is the cost of net metering inconsequential, this bad bill circumvents process that is established and which works.

There are many other reasons to keep the existing net metering policy in place. The reasons above are good reasons that are usually overlooked in the usual net metering discussions. Please contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to kill this bill.

David Ryan, Butte

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