A bill that creates a framework for communities to move towards using 100% renewably sourced electricity passed in the final hour of the Utah Legislature’s 2019 general session.
House Bill 411, the Community Renewable Energy Act, is the culmination of three years of collaboration by Park City, Summit County, Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power. Under HB 411, a community, such as Park City, can resolve to meet a goal of relying on 100% renewable energy by the year 2030. The community then enters into an agreement with an electric utility, which will propose program rates to the Public Service Commission for approval. If approved, the rates are presented to residents in the community before that community adopts an ordinance to enter into the program. Residents who don’t want to pay the increased rates can decide to opt out of the program--without penalty--for up to three billing cycles.
Lawmakers were initially concerned about the opt-out feature of the program, and the bill failed in its first hearing in the House Public Utilities Committee. After clarifying the language to extend the opt-out period, HB 411 passed out of the committee and cleared its next hurdle in the full House.
HB 411 reached final passage in the Senate on a 23 to 6 vote. The bill now heads to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk for approval.