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Net metering bill short-circuited in legislature

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Indiana has never been California when it comes to laws that encourage renewable-energy industries. Nor, for that matter, has it even kept pace with some neighboring states.

Even so, the failure of a measure in the Indiana General Assembly this month was a bit of a surprise to those who pushed for a so-called net metering law that would have allowed businesses, universities and other organizations generating their own power to receive a retail credit on their utility bills.
 

Kharbonda Kharbanda

The bill was modest in its scope and would have amounted to little more than a baby step to encourage small-scale deployment of solar, wind and other forms of generation.

Now, only homeowners and schools are entitled to such a credit and only for a small portion of their own generated electricity.

“There was significant progress in getting unanimous, bipartisan support of net metering legislation in both chambers’ committees,” said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Net metering measures were offered by Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend, and Eric Koch, R-Bedford.

Though the attempt failed in the Legislature, HEC and the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club said they plan to ask Gov. Mitch Daniels to direct the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to expand net metering provisions through the regulatory rule-making process, instead.

“In our view, the utilities derailed an opportunity for a compromise bill in the final days of negotiations between the House and Senate,” said Steve Francis, chairman of the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club.

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