Preserving Choice for Energy Consumers
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representatives Dean Arp, Jason Saine, Michael Wray, and Charles Miller that preserves choice for energy consumers was debated and passed in the House yesterday afternoon. House Bill 130 prevents local governments (including counties and municipalities) from adopting any ordinance that prohibits the connection, reconnection, modification, or expansion of an energy service based on the type or source of energy to be delivered to the end-user of the energy service. The legislation also preëmpts local governments from passing measures restricting the sale of appliances that have certain energy sources or connection — gas stoves, for example.
“Basically, what this does is say — it’s not deciding what the energy policies for the connection of homes should be — what this bill says is who determines that policy, and that we as a state would set that policy and not be subject to a patchwork of local regulations,” said Representative Arp in his introductory remarks. “That’s all that this bill does.”
Citing the need to fight climate change, nearly 100 woke cities and at least 20 states in the United States have already either banned or restricted the use of gas-powered stoves. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 14% of North Carolina’s homes (roughly 560,000) had gas stoves and approximately 24% of homes used natural gas to heat their homes.
The legisation is supported by the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the North Carolina Association of Homebuilders, the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, the North Carolina Petroleum and Convenience Marketers Association, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, the American Petroleum Institute, the Southeast Propane Alliance, Dominion Energy, and Piedmont Natural Gas.
Similar legislation passed the House and Senate in the 2021-2022 biennium but was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper.
An amendment offered by Representative Maria Cervania yesterday failed with a vote of 45 to 70. Her amendment would have essentially gutted the entire text of Rep. Arp’s legislation and replaced it with progressive gobbledygook that would have had the opposite effect of House Bill 30.
After some electrifying debate on the floor, House Bill 130 passed its second and third readings with a final vote of 77 to 37. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.