Thursday, February 28, 2008


Bill Supports Energy Independence and
Provides Savings Options for Colorado

DENVER—Today the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee unanimously passed HB-1160, which would expand home-grown energy opportunities for agricultural producers and rural communities statewide.

Sponsored by Senator Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) and Senator Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus), the bill requires power providers with more than 5,000 customers to credit those customers who produce excess energy in their homes or businesses. Residential customers who generate up to10 kilowatts and commercial or industrial customers who generate up to 25 kilowatts of renewable energy would be able to make up for their retail electricity consumption with the generated electricity.

“This bill preserves local control while encouraging the development of renewable energy systems,” Shaffer said. “Developing renewable energy systems will stimulate economic activity in our state and local communities, and will result in economic development in rural areas.”

If a customer generates electricity in excess of his or her monthly consumption, the additional kilowatt-hours must be carried from month-to-month and credited back to the customer's electricity consumption in subsequent months. Within 60 days after the end of each billing year, the power company is required to credit the customer for any excess generation in a manner deemed appropriate by the utility company.

HB-1160 streamlines the inconsistent patchwork of rural electric association (REA) and municipal utilities’ (MUs) rules for connecting and metering individual wind and solar systems. By creating a uniform statewide standard, all Coloradans will have the chance to harvest part of the renewable energy economy.

The bill next heads to the full Senate for consideration.