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GA solar bill may get new life in committee

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 8:13am
ERRIN HAINES - Associated Press - Associated Press

A frustrated state senator is taking his proposal to allow third parties to provide solar power to Georgia homes, businesses and other buildings to another committee on Thursday after he says the bill spent two weeks languishing on purpose.

Senate Bill 401 would let outside companies install, own and maintain alternative energy systems. While the bill has support from lawmakers, businesses and environmental groups, the bill faces strong opposition from power companies, which argue the proposal would drive up rates and violate existing competition rules.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle assigned the bill to the Natural Resources Committee two weeks ago, but it has not been scheduled for a hearing. Sen. Buddy Carter has attached the legislation as a substitute to another bill that falls under the same section of state law scheduled to be heard by the Regulated Utilities and Industry Committee on Thursday.

"I requested it to be in that committee initially," Carter said. "I've been told that it wouldn't be coming up in Natural Resources. In fact, that was the reason it was put in that committee."

Natural Resources Chairman Ross Tolleson has said lawmakers may need more time to study the proposal. Carter said moving the bill will give the proposal the best chance to be heard during this legislative session.

If approved in committee, the bill would be up for consideration for a full Senate vote, but it must clear at least one chamber of the Legislature before March 7 to remain eligible for consideration this year.

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Online:

http://www.legis.ga.gov

Follow Haines on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/emarvelous

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