Treat energy customers as ratepayers, not taxpayers

Senator Alan Olsen

Ratepayers are customers paying for a defined product, not a source of revenue for political experiments

Salem, OR – State Senator Alan Olsen (R-Canby) responded to the release of Governor Kitzhaber’s (D) final energy action plan on Wednesday. Olsen found some common ground in the proposal, but also said Oregon’s ratepayers and economic future must be a stronger priority.

“The Governor’s energy proposal wisely recognizes the growing importance of energy for Oregon and the world,” said Olsen. “With the right guiding principles, Oregon can continue to be a national leader in not only green energy but affordable energy that will make our state an economic leader well into the future. But this energy planning must be environmentally sound, affordable, and ensure an adequate supply of energy for tomorrow.”

Olsen offered three principles to help shape state energy policy to both protect ratepayers and capitalize on the state’s economic potential:

1) Oregon’s energy plan must ensure that energy is affordable and available for all customers and treat ratepayers as ratepayers, not taxpayers. Ratepayers are customers paying for a defined product, not a source of revenue for political experiments.

2) Oregon’s energy plan should lower the regulatory demand on consumers and eliminate complexities.

3) Oregon’s energy plan should create a level playing field where businesses can compete. The energy plan should not create artificial markets or enact regulations that pick clear winners and losers.

“There is room to work together towards a bi-partisan energy plan that enhances our shared priorities, like a healthy environment and family wage jobs,” said Olsen. “These priorities can help us achieve those priorities, and should help shape our big-picture energy plan while guiding the policy that is pursued in the 2013 session.”

Olsen hopes energy legislation next session will allow for new hydroelectricity to be included in the Renewable Portfolio Standard as one of Oregon’s cleanest, most affordable and most renewable sources of energy. Olsen would also like to allow for the siting of solar electric plants on exclusive farm use land that is not high-value.