Kentucky Political News Headlines

Monday, February 27, 2017

Support SB 214: Needed to Address Unfair Renewable Energy Subsidy

Senate Bill 214  amends Kentucky’s net metering laws to accomplish three things:
1. Increase net metering cap from 30 kilowatts to 1000 kilowatts
2. Grandfather existing customer generators
3. Change the allocation of costs among net-metering customers and all other customers to address an unfair cost shift relating to fixed costs to maintain the state’s collective grid.

What is Net Metering?
Net metering is a system under which privately-owned solar panels or other renewable energy generation is connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.

Why are these statutory changes needed?
- Under Kentucky’s existing net-metering law, all utility customers are subsidizing net metering customers.
- Current net-metering law requires host utilities to overpay for excess energy from the private net-metering facilities by crediting customer-generators at the “full retail rate” (cost of energy, plus costs to build and maintain the infrastructure to deliver the energy) for the excess energy they supply.
- The payment of the full retail rate by utilities to net-metering customer generators means that they avoid paying the costs all other utility consumers pay for the infrastructure of the electric grid.
- Kentucky’s electric utilities have been in discussions with supporters of net-metering for several years and have offered to help grow the industry (raise the cap from 30kW to 1 mW) and grandfather in existing customer-generators, in exchange for the opportunity to better align costs/eliminate a subsidy.

Impact of this Legislation
1. SB 214 would resolve the unfair subsidization of renewable energy by allowing electric utilities to utilize the ratemaking process at the Public Service Commission to more fairly allocate system costs between net-metering customers and all other customers.
2. SB 214 will not impact the approximately 500 existing customer-generators, as they are grandfathered under the bill and not affected by any proposed change in the allocation of system costs to be considered by the PSC.
3. SB 214 will positively impact economic development efforts by making possible larger renewable energy projects for large commercial and industrial customers who require access to renewable power as part of their corporate mandates or site selection criteria.
4. SB 214 does not apply to TVA or Kentucky electric utilities not regulated by the PSC.
Who Supports SB 214 ?
Kentucky’s Electric Utilities regulated by the PSC
Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Consumer Energy Alliance

VOTE YES on SB 214!

Monday, February 6, 2017

General Assembly Set to Return

The Kentucky General Assembly will end their January recess and reconvene for "Part 2" of the 2017 Regular Session on Tuesday, February 7. After a productive first week that ran from January 3-7, the legislature will come back to Frankfort and begin work on their currently scheduled final 25 legislative days before adjourning on March 30. We say "currently scheduled" as there has been significant talk of the General Assembly "saving" five legislative days to accommodate a special session sometime later this year to address pension reform and tax reform.

After passing 7 key priority bills the first week of the session, we expect they will come in and get to work on several notable issues that lawmakers hope to accomplish this session, including:

- Medical Liability Reform;
- Enabling charter schools;
- Reforms to education standards, teacher evaluations, and school accountability systems;
- Higher education board governance; and
- Criminal Justice reforms.

The Governor will lay out his agenda during his State of the Commonwealth speech to a joint session of the General Assembly on the evening Wednesday, February 8. That is likely to coincide with the key priorities of the General Assembly.

All are predicting a packed agenda, but hopefully not the quick pace that was seen during the first week of the session in January. The top issues alone are enough for a 25 day session, but this doesn't account for the secondary and tertiary issues that will arise once legislators get back to town. We expect heavy bill filing this week and will keep you updated as new legislative proposals are introduced. In addition, we are expecting most legislative committees to meet this week to consider legislation some of which will see floor action by the end of the week. It may not be as fast paced as Week 1 of the session, but we do expect there will be a lot of legislative action this week.

Looking Ahead
The legislature will return on February 7 for the remaining 25 days of the regular session. Due to the addition of Saturday, January 7 as a legislative day, the session legislative calendar was amended and March 9, originally a legislative day, will now be a recess day. The amended legislative calendar and committee meeting schedule can be viewed online, but here are a few dates of interest:

February 7th - Regular Session convenes

February 8th - State of the Commonwealth Address by Governor Bevin

February 17th - Last day for new Senate bills

February 20th - Legislative Holiday (Presidents' Day)

February 21st - Last day for new House bills

March 16th - 27th - Veto Recess

March 29th & 30th - Final two legislative days before Sine Die Adjournment.