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  • Writer's pictureTom Moyer

Climate Utah action alert - HB191

Action alert!

Please call or write your representative and urge them to vote no on HB191 - Electrical Energy Amendments. This bill prevents the Public Service Commission from approving the early retirement of an electric generation facility unless certain conditions are met. The bill is on the House calendar and could get a vote as early as Monday. You can look up your district and contact information for your representative here. The ask is for House members only right now.

Tips for effective communication

Write to your own representative. Calling, emailing, or texting are all fine. I typically email, but some legislators actually prefer texts. If possible, start with a thank-you. It can be for a bill they authored, a vote they took, or just for the time they take to be responsive to constituents. Being a legislator is often a thankless job, and starting our with a thank-you helps make them receptive to the rest of the ask.

Include the bill number and title in the subject of the email. Put the ask in the first sentence, and include your address and contact information in your signature. Keep your communication brief. You can choose from these talking points, or rewrite them in your own words. Don't copy and paste the whole thing. As always, legislators respond best when we are respectful and appreciative, and when we are clear about what we are asking them to vote for or against.

HB191 talking points

  • HB 191 risks increasing costs for customers

PacifiCorp (owner of Rocky Mountain Power) studies how to reliably meet their customers' electricity demand 24-7 at the lowest cost and risk. Their plans are reviewed by the Public Service Commission, which acts in the interest of ratepayers. Forcing utilities to operate plants that they have determined are uneconomic raises costs and rates for everyone. PacifiCorp serves six states, and the maintenance costs for the aging plants are currently shared. If Utah prevents those plants from closing, then Utah will carry those maintenance costs alone.

  • Locking in coal-fired plants misses opportunities for cheaper and cleaner resources

Utah has abundant opportunities for solar, geothermal, and clean hydrogen. In the US, 92% of capacity additions in the next year will be wind, solar, and batteries. Those options are often less expensive than the operating costs of existing coal-fired power plants. Forcing the coal plants to run diverts resources from bringing a broad portfolio of newer generation online.

  • Coal-fired power plants are no guarantee of reliability

The Hunter and Huntington plants were built in the 1970s. They have served us well, but coal-fired power plants can and do fail under stress. During Winter Storm Elliot in late 2022, thousands of megawatts of coal and gas fired power plants were unavailable and resulted in rolling blackouts.

  • Economics are the key driver of coal plant retirements

Electric utilities in both conservative and liberal states are retiring coal units early, largely because new renewable energy resources are cheaper. There is no need for the legislature to second-guess the utilities. Let the professionals do their jobs.

Climate Utah legislative tracker

You can check the progress of all the bills we are following on our legislative tracker.  You can also see bill trackers on a wider range of environmental topics from:

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