Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Gov. Mary Fallin Signs Distributed Electricity Generation Bill

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed Senate Bill 1456, a measure that would allow regulated electric utilities to charge customers who generate electricity from rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.

The bill allows utilities to create a new customer class, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

SB 1456 would allow electric utilities to apply to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to establish a higher base customer charge for users of rooftop solar or small wind turbines. The higher fixed charge would be used to recover some of the infrastructure costs to safely send excess electricity back to the grid.

Gov. Fallin also issued an executive order to accompany her bill signing, which is unusual. In the order, Fallin “emphasized the importance of renewable energy in her Oklahoma First Energy Plan,” Monies reports.

The bill attracted a unique cross-section of opposition from environmental organizations, wind and solar advocates, and conservative groups. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday criticized the bill, calling it a “sun tax” installed to protect the “bottom line of oil and gas and coal industries.” Skip to 6:30 to hear Maddow’s commentary on the bill.

Oklahoma’s two major electric utilities, Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, supported the bill. The utilities say they need to charge customers who generate power with rooftop solar panels and small wind turbines because they’re using an existing electric infrastructure without paying for it.

Nationally, the electric utility industry is worried that distributed power generation poses a major threat to its business model.

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  • lwj01998

    Whats next charging people extra for energy saving bulbs because they use too little? What a regressive step. The customers are already paying to be connected.

  • In the Heartland

    Yee Haw – this has convinced me to skip grid- tied system
    Off Grid baby!

  • jawj4291 .

    This bill is unconstitutional. It is telling the electric company they can rob those who chose to use a grid tied system. For any one wondering what I am talking about let me explain. We put power back in to the grid we should be paid for it as we are providing a power witch is helping the electric company by reducing how much power they have to produce. This bill has legalized robbery esentualy by saying the electric company can charge you for the power they get from you. EX: Say you work as a dishwasher. Then one day you get told you have to pay the company you work for to be able to work there instead of you being paid. Same principle.

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