Letter to the Editor: Appreciation expressed to two state lawmakers

Published 12:37 pm Thursday, January 9, 2020

To the Editor:

Political courage is standing up for those that you took an oath to represent in the face of adversity and tough and controversial decisions. Rep. Bobby Hanig and Sen. Bob Steinburg personify courageous public servants for the constituents in their coastal districts.

Rep. Hanig and Sen. Steinburg demonstrated courageous leadership on their constituents’ behalf by standing up to a politically-powerful utility company that sought to significantly alter the way the N.C. Utilities Commission establishes electricity rates. Senate Bill 559, which sought to authorize a financial tool referred to as “multi-year rate plans,” was widely criticized by clean energy advocates, large and small businesses, trade associations, commercial and industrial ratepayer organizations, lower-income advocates, and others for not providing consumer protections necessary to insulate North Carolinians from the risks of rate increases and potential over-earning by the utility.

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Looking ahead, we hope a stakeholder process will emerge that can help launch an inclusive conversation about what types of utility rate reforms will best meet the changing needs of both utilities and customers, while helping accelerate an economically rational transition to a cleaner, more affordable, more responsive energy system.

We appreciate that these leaders put their constituents first by supporting changes to the legislation that ensure better outcomes for families, businesses, and communities. The way we generate and use energy is changing and the trend favors cleaner, lower-cost power sources that are healthier for our communities and economy. I’m confident that constituents will remember how Rep. Hanig and Sen. Steinburg looked out for them on this critical issue.

David Kelly

Senior Manager for Political Affairs

Environmental Defense Fund