Conservative groups oppose Indiana net metering bill

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Like Common Core to the education world, the utility issue of net metering is drawing opposition from conservative groups with a libertarian bent.

The Christian Coalition of Indiana and the Georgia-based Green Tea Coalition oppose House Bill 1320, authored by Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, chairman of the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

The bill allows investor-owned electric utilities to seek permission from regulators to pay less than the retail rate for energy to customers that use “distributed generation,” including solar. It would also allow them to levy additional fixed charges for connecting those customers to the grid.

Currently, Indiana requires utilities like Duke Energy and Indianapolis Power & Light to offer “net metering,” which gives solar users full credit for any excess energy they produce.

The committee on Feb. 18 passed Koch’s bill on a party-line, 9-4 vote, but Georgia Tea Party Patriots co-founder Debbie Dooley still hopes free-market-minded Republicans will prevent further progress.

Koch’s bill is an “attack on solar,” she said. “It’s an attack on the free market.”

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