- Lawmakers in the Utah House have signed off on the Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan Act, a measure supported by Rocky Mountain Power to simplify recouping costs and put in place a sustainable transportation and energy pilot program.
- But the measure was altered from a previous version, giving the Public Service Commission more oversight, though it still allows for 100% recovery of utility costs.
- Lawmakers initially rejected the measure by a vote of 33-40, but The Salt Lake Tribune reports lawmakers reconsidered the legislation and voted to pass it 46-26.
What happened at dinner? That's the question environmentalists are left to ponder, after an apparent victory was upended following a recess for dinner. The Salt Lake Tribune reports lawmakers recessed following a vote against the measure last Thursday, but reconsidered later that night.
Matt Pacenza, who leads the environmental group HEAL Utah, told the newspaper the second chance vote appeared to be "a little underhanded."
"Listening to the debate in the House, it's just incredibly clear the legislators do not understand what this bill does," he told the Tribune. "and it's also really clear to me that Rocky Mountain Power told people what they wanted to hear."
Opponents of the measure say by allowing the utility to recoup 100% of costs, without review, it could destroy the state's solar market. But the utility convinced lawmakers the pass-on of costs was necessary to enact its Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan.
"Our customers have told us that they want reasonably priced electricity but also want clean energy options. We worked with legislators and community leaders to refine the STEP bill so we could accomplish that goal," Rocky Mountain Power President and CEO Cindy Crane said in a statement.
The bill will also directs the commission to end the Utah solar incentive program and surcharge tariff, and allow RMP to stop accepting new applications for the solar incentive program by the end of December 2016.