by Brian Balfour, Civitas Review Online, April 16, 2015.
Most of you are probably familiar with the Civitas Institute’s Bad Bill of the Week series. Fortunately, this week also saw the focus turn to two good bills that would help lower utility bills and increase choice and competition in medical care.
HB 681 would cap and repeal the state’s mandate forcing utilities to generate a set percentage of their energy from inefficient and expensive “renewable” energy.
The law says utilities have to generate increasing amounts of energy from the sun, wind and organic wastes, or from energy efficiency. It set an ultimate green-energy target of 12.5 percent of retail sales by 2021.
A bill sponsored by two chairs of the House Public Utilities committee and Majority Leader Mike Hager cuts that target by half. It makes the final target 6 percent, this year’s benchmark, and ends the mandate in 2018.
One of the primary sponsors, Pender County Republican Chris Millis, calls the standard a transfer of wealth to renewable-energy developers.
An influential state senator wants to repeal laws that were designed to curb health care costs, arguing that they have actually accomplished the opposite.
A bill introduced by Sen. Tom Apodaca, the Henderson County Republican who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, would eliminate the state’s certificate-of-need laws. Intended to prevent excessive facilities and equipment, the CON program requires hospitals and other medical providers to get state approval for expansions and major acquisitions.
But Apodaca contends that the program’s most vigorous supporters are the health care providers who are protected by them.
“If we opened it up and let providers compete, the consumers would come out better in the long run,” he said. “I think there would be more services available at less cost.”