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This week Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plan to offer an amendment to the “Energy Policy and Modernization Act” that would expand federal control over the states and infringe upon the power of state authorities to make decisions regarding energy policy. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) urges opposition to this amendment to protect state sovereignty and halt further expansion of the federal government’s power. 

The King-Reid amendment would establish stringent federal standards dictating how each state may operate their net metering programs. Net metering policies vary by state, but in general electric utilities are required to purchase excess electricity generated by customers with rooftop solar installations at the full retail rate as opposed to wholesale. As result, solar customers avoid paying for many of the fixed costs of the grid, and thus these fixed costs are shifted onto non-solar customers.  

The new federal standards imposed by the King-Reid amendment, such as requiring extensive evidentiary hearings, would thus act as a new legislative barrier to states seeking to address the cost-shifting dilemma. 

This amendment would effectively take such decision making ability away from the states and give it to the federal government. Furthermore, the King-Reid amendment would only work to further the practice of forcing non-solar customers to subsidize net-metered customers.

States, rural electric cooperatives, and certain localities are undoubtedly in a much better position than the federal government to make decisions about state energy policy. The states are already reeling from a slew of regulations put forth by President Obama, such as the Clean Power Plan, that empower federal regulators at the expense of state sovereignty.

ATR urges lawmakers this week to oppose the King-Reid amendment, and instead vote to protect state sovereignty and to stop the further expansion of the federal government’s power over the states. 


Photo credit: Glyn Lowe