Two “net metering” bills died in committee in the Montana Senate and it appears the two pending in the Montana House are headed for the same fate.
Net metering is the credit you get from the power company when your alternative power system — home or business solar, wind, hydro — generates more electricity than you can use and the excess is added to the grid.
The senate bills would have expanded net-metering systems from the paltry 50 kilowatts that is currently allowed by law. (A 100-watt light bulb turned on for ten hours a day for 50 days would be 50 kilowatts.)
I’m still waiting for the roll call vote on these bills but the Lee Newspapers State Bureau reports that it was mostly along party lines: Republicans, nay; Democrats, yea. This is interesting because Republicans sponsored two of the four bills.
According to the story, Ben Brouwer, policy director for the Montana Renewable Energy Association, said he’s disappointed that NorthWestern is “standing in the way of Montana families and businesses being given more options to control their energy bills with rooftop solar.”
He also said it’s ironic that senators accused net-metering supporters of not compromising, when NorthWestern has declared it will kill any bills this session to expand net metering.
Boo-hoo. Our energy companies won’t be getting quite as much profit as they do now with their monopoly on generation and distribution.
I remember 18 years ago when the old Montana Power Company rammed energy deregulation through the legislature. What a fiasco. Now it’s Northwestern Energy’s turn to hurt consumers, and while it’s at it, the environment.
UPDATE: Net metering would be good for Missoula.