To the editor:
Political courage is standing up for those that you took an oath to represent in the face of adversity and tough and controversial decisions. Rep. Larry Yarborough personifies a courageous public servant for the constituents of his home district.
Rep. Yarborough demonstrated courageous leadership on his constituents’ behalf by standing up to a politically-powerful utility company that sought to significantly alter the way the N.C. Utilities Commission establishes electricity rates. Senate Bill 559, which sought to authorize a financial tool referred to as “multi-year rate plans,” was widely criticized by clean energy advocates, large and small businesses, trade associations, commercial and industrial ratepayer organizations, lower-income advocates, and others for not providing consumer protections necessary to insulate North Carolinians from the risks of rate increases and potential over-earning by the utility.
Looking ahead, we hope a stakeholder process will emerge that can help launch an inclusive conversation about what types of utility rate reforms will best meet the changing needs of both utilities and customers, while helping accelerate an economically rational transition to a cleaner, more affordable, more responsive energy system.
We appreciate that Rep. Yarborough put his constituents first by supporting changes to the legislation that ensure better outcomes for families, businesses and communities. The way we generate and use energy is changing and the trend favors cleaner, lower-cost power sources that are healthier for our communities and economy. I’m confident that Rep. Yarborough’s constituents will remember how he looked out for them on this critical issue.
Editor’s note: The writer is senior manager for political affairs for the Environmental Defense Fund.