In 2018, the legislature will consider HB 559, a bill that would change the way RGGI money is distributed.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cap-and-trade program operated by eight northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Every three years, utility companies in RGGI states are required to purchase allowances for every ton of carbon they emit. This incentivizes utilities to search for ways to reduce their pollution output. The money from these auctions is used to fund energy efficiency programs and ratepayer rebates.
About the changes in HB 559
This bill would make several changes to the way RGGI works in the Granite State:
- It would end residential customer rebates but give all commercial and industrial retail electric ratepayers full rebates.
- Up to 35% of the remaining money, after administrative costs, would go towards weatherizing low-income homes and providing energy-efficient appliance rebates to low-income families. (Currently, only 15% of RGGI revenue goes to this program.)
- Up to $5,000,000 would be allocated to local school districts and municipal projects aimed at increasing energy efficiency. (The current cap is $2,000,000.)
- Any remaining proceeds from carbon allowance auctions would be put towards a fuel-neutral core energy efficiency program.
Supporters of more energy efficiency funding
Proponents of this bill say it is good for both the planet and the economy. Energy efficiency projects help communities save money over time by reducing the amount of electricity and fuel they need to buy. This bill focuses more on low-income citizens, who could most benefit from the cost-savings associated with increased energy efficiency.
Supporters also note that the average monthly rebate for a residential customer is just a couple of dollars, at most.
Supporters of residential rebates
Opponents of the bill say it is unfair to end rebates for residential ratepayers. The bill would unfairly benefit businesses and low income residents at the cost of the average resident.
Opponents of RGGI, as a whole, say it does little to lower overall emissions—rather, it shifts energy production to other regions of the country.
What do you think? Do you support HB 559? Let us know by leaving a comment – yes or no, and why – in the space below.