Update on HB394 and HB429
We had great hearings on SB 247 (to raise the net metering cap) and HB 394 (aggregate net metering) this week. THANK YOU to everyone that participated by calling or emailing legislators or testifying at the hearings! Unfortunately SB 247 was tabled by the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee yesterday, which means that it’s probably dead. But there’s still time on HB 394. There will also be a hearing next week on a bill to increase the $500 state tax credit for alternative energy systems. We need your help! Please read on for details.
Aggregate Net Metering – HB 394
HB 394 (sponsored by Rep. Tom Jacobson, D-Great Falls) would allow “aggregate net metering”, in which individual utility customers in attached housing or commercial developments (condos, apartment buildings, malls, etc.) may subscribe to the output of a single solar, wind, or micro-hydro system on the premises. The individual customers then receive a credit on their utility bills – just like in conventional net-metering – based on their proportion of the renewable energy system’s production. Advantages of HB 394 include:
- Expands access to renewable energy by allowing a broader range of residents and businesses (e.g. apartment dwellers) to participate in net metering
- Allows Montana energy businesses to grow and explore new markets
- Enables consumers to take advantage of economies of scale
- Increases the production of clean, Montana-made energy
- Keeps more of our energy dollars in the state
(Please note: the version of the bill currently available online applies more broadly, but the sponsor has introduced an amendment restricting the applicability to multi-unit attached residential or commercial structures.)
The House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications Committee will probably vote on HB 394 this Monday, Feb 18. Please take action now by contacting the House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications Committee and asking them to vote YES on HB 394. It’s easy to contact the committee! Just use this online form, or leave a message for the committee by calling (406) 444-4800. You can see the list of committee members here (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Tax Credits – HB 429
HB 429 (sponsored by Rep. Franke Wilmer, D-Bozeman) would increase the state tax credits for energy conservation and alternative energy from $500 to $1,000 per taxpayer. It would also modify the alternative energy tax credit to apply to up to 25% of the taxpayer’s expenditure (this is how the energy conservation tax credit already works).
HB 429 will be heard in the House Taxation Committee this coming Tuesday, 2/19 at 9:00 am in Room 152 of the Capitol Building. Take action by contacting the House Taxation Committee and asking them to vote YES on HB 429. You can see the list of committee members here (scroll to the bottom of the page). Use this online form to contact the committee, or call (406) 444-4800 to leave them a message. And if you can, come testify at the hearing! If you plan to testify, please let our lobbyist Ben Brouwer know (email@example.com, 465-8920) so he knows who to expect.