Wednesday morning, the Maine House passed the majority report of LD 1649 “An Act To Modernize Maine’s Solar Power Policy and Encourage Economic Development” with 67 House Republicans and 2 Independents voting against the measure.
69 votes is more than enough to sustain a veto should this bill reach the Governor’s desk.
Below are statements from Rep. Nathan Wadsworth, ranking House Republican on the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee and House Republican Leader Rep. Ken Fredette:
“House Republicans support solar, but we do not support low and fixed income Mainers paying for it,” said Rep. Nathan Wadsworth, ranking House Republican on the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. “The bill passed by House Democrats this morning mandates that the Public Utilities Commission set pricing high enough to ultimately allow the mandated solar benchmarks to be achieved by 2022. The PUC has estimated that this would result in an increase in the cost to Maine’s electricity ratepayers of nearly $22 million. That is simply not good public policy.”
“While the technology is improving and costs are decreasing for solar, now is not the right time to mandate ratepayers to pay higher electricity prices to subsidize solar installation on their roofs of the mostly affluent among us,” said House Republican leader Rep. Fredette of Newport. “Allowing the marketplace to work on pricing and demand is the right approach at this time, not to mandate higher energy costs which are driving businesses and young people from our state.”
The bill next heads to the Senate.