Matzie urges ongoing scrutiny as committee considers nuclear subsidy bill

HARRISBURG, April 29 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, counseled fellow members of the House Consumer Affairs Committee to continue careful deliberations as hearings resumed today on a House bill that would provide ratepayer-subsidized alternative energy credits to Pennsylvania’s nuclear energy providers. 

In the third hearing to consider the potential impacts of H.B. 11, the House Consumer Affairs Committee heard testimony from representatives of industrial energy customers, the Retail Energy Supply Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Matzie, who is Democratic chairman of the committee and co-chairman of the bipartisan, bicameral Nuclear Energy Caucus, explained that the issues posed by the bill are multi-faceted. 

“The issue of energy subsidies is a highly complex one, with much at stake,” Matzie said. “Today’s hearing focused on the possible impact of HB 11 on large-scale industrial customers and suppliers, as well as getting the point of view from organized labor as to worker implications. Because of the many issues impacting jobs, families, and consumer rates, I’m committed to proceeding deliberately by examining all potential repercussions before we reach a final decision.”

Currently, nuclear energy providers are excluded from the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, which requires that 18 percent of power sold in Pennsylvania be derived from alternative energy sources by 2021. 

House Bill 11 would amend the act, effectively broadening the definition of clean energy by including a “zero-emission power” category reserved for the state’s nuclear energy providers. The bill would require that utilities purchase an additional 50 percent of energy credits from those providers. 

Without any action, two of the state’s plants – Exelon’s Three Mile Island and FirstEnergy’s Beaver Valley plant near Pittsburgh – are scheduled to shut down within the next few years.