Legislative Update

The Iowa Legislative Session adjournment on Saturday, 4/27.  Here is the good and the bad of the bills we tracked and your call to action!

Defeated!! MidAm Sunshine Tax:  We should be proud of the fact we influenced the path of this bill and especially grateful for Rep Mike Bergan’s and Rep Anne Osmundson’s opposition to the bill.  We went up against the giant, monopoly investor owned utility companies and won this battle anyway. Important Note:Because this bill made it through the Senate it will likely be reconsidered next year.

Electric Vehicle Tax: Ask the Governor to veto HF 767 and Sec 39 SF 638: Both are bad bills heading to the Governor’s desk. HF 767 pertains to Electric Fuel excise tax plan and a raise to the annual special registration fee schedule for EV. Both the excise tax and the increased additional registration fees are excessive, burdensome and discouraging of EV ownership and use.
Sec 39 of SF 639 is the placement of a hard cap on the Energy Efficiency Fund regardless of the Utilities, IUB approved plan to collect for energy efficiency.

The Iowa Law and Policy Center and the Iowa Environmental Council have further explains the damaging policy:

This language modifies legislation passed just last year, in SF 2311, which resulted in severe cuts to Iowa’s energy efficiency programs. That bill prohibited the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) from requiring utilities to spend more than 1.5% of their revenues on gas efficiency and 2% of their revenues on electric efficiency. The IUB in February and March of this year approved plans from MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy, respectively, that were under these spending caps. The language specified in SF 638 converts the regulatory caps on IUB authority to absolute caps on the utilities. Under the pending language, the utilities could not spend above the caps on efficiency even if the utility finds, and the IUB agrees, it is in customers’ best interests to capture more energy efficiency savings. This lack of flexibility is troubling.

In addition, the language in the bill is vague and the process of interpreting the language could lead to regulatory expense for ratepayers in the current efficiency plan years as the utilities work within the IUB process to determine appropriate, and legal, spending on efficiency programs.

SF 2311 severely limited spending. Alliant and MidAmerican are in the process of implementing approved plans for 2019-2023 consistent with existing law, and this has already led to energy efficiency job losses. One sample of just five businesses with an energy efficiency focus reported losing 63 employees or 66 percent of their combined Iowa workforce, with almost $3 million in salaries leaving the state. The language in SF 638 only creates uncertainty about how the current energy efficiency plans should be implemented and takes away flexibility for the utilities to spend more on efficiency if and when it makes sense to do so.

The language in the standings bill makes a policy that has led to significant job losses worse by creating regulatory uncertainty and taking away flexibility.

We should tell the Governor these policies are in direct conflict with Iowa’s Energy Plan; a plan she as Lt Governor led into formation.

“We will continue to embrace energy efficiency, a mix of energy resources, infrastructure, and technologies to position all of Iowa – both rural and urban – for future growth.” For policymakers: “Action taken by the state, or its policy makers, should be consistent with the plan’s vision and guiding principles.”

Note the keyword is “Embrace” NOT “Hinder” Remember the only party to lose when we are energy efficient are the energy sellers.
Governor Reynolds: 515-281-5211, 1007 E. Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319