About a week ago, two people wrote opinion pieces in another newspaper regarding the SOLAR Act.
Adam Wright, chief executive of MidAmerican Energy, and Troy Van Beek, representing the solar industry, both wrote about legislation pending in the Iowa Legislature.
Frankly, I think that Van Beek should be running MidAmerican. He has a much more insightful knowledge of the critical parameters of the issue.
Looking at Wright's initial point that everybody needs to pay their share for supply infrastructure, he states: "The bill (in the Legislature) does one thing: It ensures that everyone using the electric grid ... pays for it as well."
At its heart, this statement is disingenuous. As I examine the MidAmerican bill I pay every month, for both my natural gas and my electricity, I pay a "basic service charge," which, apart from the energy delivery, or usage fees, allegedly covers those very infrastructure costs Wright mentions.
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Mr. Van Beek refers to this infrastructure charge as well. Mr. Wright ignores this fact. So, if I own a solar array and am hooked up to the grid, I pay for the grid already.
The need for this new law and new attempt to regulate, which Republicans typically hate, is moot. If MidAmerican has a problem, it is that it has misrepresented its infrastructure costs to the Iowa Utilities Board and has buried these costs in their gas and electric delivery costs.
I urge all Iowa legislators to oppose the SOLAR Act. It will only line the pockets of MidAmerican stockholders.