Oklahoma is winning the war against… solar energy?
11:04 AM EDT on April 22, 2014
Did you know since the 1970s it's been illegal for Oklahoma utility companies to charge extra fees to customers who use solar or wind energy at their home or business? Yes, it's true. Under Oklahoma law, you can literally install solar panels on your property, use the energy they create to power most of your home, and then sell the excess clean energy you don't use back to the utility company during peak hours. And guess what, the utilities can't charge you an additional dime for it. What a racket, huh? Those utility companies that have a bunch of Os and Gs in their names sure are screwed.
Well, until now.
Fortunately for all of us, one brave Oklahoma lawmaker noticed that totally outlandish, unfair law and decided to do something about it. Mike Turner, the trust fund baby who eats his own eye boogers and wants to ban marriage, recently sponsored SB 1456, which gives utilities the right to impose fees – or what Judge Roberts may consider a tax – on selfish, game-rigging assholes who generate their own clean solar energy. You know, because that's a concern we all stay up late thinking about.
Turner's legislation sailed through the House and Senate and was signed into law yesterday by Mary Fallin. Now, thanks to our Republican-controlled legislature and Governor, Oklahoma utility companies will finally be playing on a level playing field with the asshole who wants to put some panels on his roof.
Bill may raise utility fees
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill Monday that would allow regulated electric utilities to establish a new customer class for users of rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.
In signing Senate Bill 1456, Fallin also took the rare step of issuing an executive order directing its implementation.
SB 1456 would allow electric utilities to apply to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to establish a higher base customer charge for users of rooftop solar or small wind turbines. The higher fixed charge would be used to recover some of the infrastructure costs to safely send excess electricity back to the grid.
Of course, this extremely logical legislation that benefits the people (and natural gas companies) and discourages use of clean, pollution free, solar power has drawn the ire of the liberal, solar panel loving elitist national media. Blogs, message boards and even MSNBC's Rachel Maddow have chimed in to criticize what I'm now calling the The Oklahoma Utility Equality Act:
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Monday that Oklahoma’s new law essentially fining homeowners who install solar energy panels, while disappointing, represented an advance of sorts for champions of renewable energy.
“Maybe this means that alternative energy — like solar energy — is now viable enough to be an actual threat to the bottom line of the oil and gas and coal industries. We say it’s the four stages, right? First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Well, solar has apparently moved on from being ignored or laughed at, and now they’re fighting it.”...
According to the Daily Oklahoman,Maddow’s theory is not far-fetched: a report published last year by the Edison Electric Institute voiced concern over the prospect of solar or wind power becoming a feasible option for more consumers.
“When customers have the opportunity to reduce their use of a product or find another provider of such service, utility earnings growth is threatened,” the report said. “As this threat to growth becomes more evident, investors will become less attracted to investments in the utility sector.”
Subsequently, both the Edison Institute and the Koch Brothers-funded activist group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) have run television ad campaigns threatening utilities customers with drastic rate increases. An AFP ad that ran in Kansas also linked renewable energy to opposition to the Affordable Care Act by mentioning that she supported a 2009 law requiring utility companies to get 20 percent of their power from alternative sources.
“Our state directors have been weighing in on energy legislation through office visits in their state houses,” AFP told Maddow’s show in a statement. “AFP activists are very engaged on energy issues; they’re overwhelmingly opposed to government policies that restrict their access to affordable energy.”
While the efforts of groups like AFP and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council failed in Kansas, however, Maddow wondered if they found an especially-good target market in Oklahoma.
“Did they win for the first time tonight because because it’s Oklahoma?” Maddow asked aloud. “Because Oklahoma is so far off the freaking ideological chart in terms of its state governance that they don’t just refuse to raise the minimum wage, they ban raising the minimum wage? Where they see gay people getting married and the reaction is to ban marriage for everyone because the gay people have ruined it? Did warming yourself with the sun instead of coal just become a punishable offense in Oklahoma because it’s Oklahoma?”
Whatever. Who died and made you so smart, Ms. Maddow? Who do you expect me to trust? Liberal out of state elitists with no stake in the game, or Oklahoma Republican lawmakers who are out to protect publicly traded utility corporations that donate to their campaigns and essentially get to operate under a state-endorsed monopoly? I think the choice is pretty clear. Republicans all the way. You know, because they're pro-life and want to protect the 2nd amendment.
Anyway, I guess this concludes this episode of "Oklahoma is a fucked up place to live so I might as well pretend to be part of the majority." Seriously, give me the bluepill. I'm not sure how much more of these crazy laws I can handle. It makes me want to fly out to Colorado and get stoned.
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