The Delaware General Assembly has started to meet virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As they have earlier agreed, their work will only focus on passing a budget, investing in capital infrastructure projects, Grants-in-Aid, and other legislation either required to maintain existing programs, or to address the COVID-19 response.

Notwithstanding the legislators’ agreement, a legislator has inappropriately pushed and introduced a non-COVID-19 related bill; Senate Bill 250. It’s a last-minute controversial bill proposing to drastically change Delaware’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) at unknown costs to all Delaware electric customers. We do not need another bad deal like Bloom.

The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) and its members vehemently oppose SB 250. Among other things, the bill raises the percentage of energy that must come from renewable sources, creates a convoluted “Community” Solar program that sets complicated rules and structures for participation and mandated power buybacks by utilities, and, in the end, will increase costs for Delaware businesses and citizens. This legislation should be opposed for the following reasons:

1. Now is not the time to impose legislation without the input of customers – those who are most affected. The economy is fragile. Businesses and citizens are already struggling. It is irresponsible of the legislature to impose more costs on them now.

2. Legislators made an agreement that no bills would be introduced or considered during the remainder of this legislative session, unless related to the three “money” bills, maintain existing programs, or related to COVID-19.

3. Our legislators aren’t meeting in person, only virtually. They have not been able to provide the technical means to allow for public comment. Nor is it anticipated that they will be able to do so before June 30th. This grates against the principals and spirit of open government and renders public participation and meaningful collaboration impossible.

4. 3% costs caps were included in the RPS to protect our customers. Those caps were ignored by some, resulting in Delmarva Power customers paying increased renewable energy costs upwards of 19% over the last 8 years. Delmarva Power customers have paid well over a billion dollars due this consumer protection being ignored. Approval of SB 250 will remove current cost caps allowing higher costs to continue.

5. There is no immediate need or reason to rush this legislation as the current RPS isn’t due for renewal until 2025. While we are on target to meet current goals, we should wait to fulfill those goals to understand its full financial impacts before increasing mandates. The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation and its municipal cities and towns will continue to oppose this bill and to advocate for our customers who are ultimately responsible to pay for this costly legislation. Please call your legislators and…………..

tell them you oppose SB 250 and any motion to hear SB 250.

About the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC):

DEMEC and its public power communities are not-for-profit electric utilities that serve over 137,000 people throughout Delaware. That includes small and large businesses, schools, farms, houses, and government buildings. Any revenue from the utilities goes back to the communities to increase quality of life and provide reliable and responsible power to the people.

DEMEC and its members are committed to renewable energy. Currently, 85% of DEMEC’s power supply comes from extremely low to no emissions energy sources. With over 26 megawatts (MW) of utility scale solar energy generation built in Delaware, DEMEC and its member communities continue to lead with the most solar generation in Delaware while only accounting for 15% of the state’s electric load. All of DEMEC’s member customers benefit from nearly 100MW of renewable energy from wind and solar projects and partnerships.

DEMEC builds renewable projects only as they become economically feasible. Proposed SB 250 mandates will negatively impact DEMEC’s rate payers by increasing their energy costs.