There’s nothing that warms your heart like reports that your “representatives” in Raleigh are huddling up in secret with special interests to formulate a plan to really put the screws to you and your family:
Big players in the state’s energy sector are meeting behind closed doors, hammering out details for major energy legislation that may be revealed later this session.
At least one attendee said the group has agreed not to speak about the process. Others involved largely declined comment or did not return calls, but the working group includes representatives from Duke Energy, clean energy lobbyists and lobbying groups for manufacturers and retailers, which are both big electricity users.
Lobbyists for environmental and other advocacy groups said no one is in the room representing residential electric customers or environmental groups.They criticized the process but asked for anonymity because they hope to be included further down the road
Multiple sources told WRAL News that the meetings are coordinated through House Rules Chairman Destin Hall’s office. Hall, R-Caldwell, confirmed energy issues are being discussed, but he declined to go into specifics or identify the people or sectors represented in the meetings.
“House lawmakers have been working with a diverse and evolving group of parties on a number of energy issues,” Hall said in an email. “This is a process similar to what occurs across every policy sector. Once we get closer to a final product, I will gladly send it over.”
Public Staff at the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which represents ratepayers when utility issues come before the commission, isn’t involved, its executive director confirmed. Neither is the Governor’s Office, spokeswoman Dory MacMillan said in response to WRAL News’ questions.
Nor are any House Democrats, according to House Minority Leader Robert Reives “Unfortunately, it’s not that unusual,” Reives, D-Chatham, said of the process.
Reives said he understands the group is hashing out long-term energy policy for the state. Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, an environmentalist who follows energy issues closely, said her “sense” is that the talks surround an update to House Bill 589, a major piece of energy legislation from 2017.
Among other things, that bill set the stage for a solar energy expansion in North Carolina, though Duke Energy and solar companies quickly fell to disagreement over just how the bill would be implemented. The measure was better known for a late addition: A temporary moratorium on new wind farm projects.[…]