Tallahassee, Florida - April 27, 2011 -
A bill that would have allowed investor-owned utilities to increase rates by 2 percent to pay for renewable energy is likely dead after being essentially gutted and then temporarily postponed during a Senate Budget Committee meeting Tuesday. "I pronounce that one dead," said Budget Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who sponsored the amendment. "I don't routinely do that, but I think that one's dead." Alexander's amendment removed the rate hike and would have limited the rate utilities could charge per kilowatt hour for renewable energy projects to their retail rate -- generally far lower than what advocates say is necessary to draw power from solar energy, a key target of the bill. Alexander said the bill was brought up during Tuesday's meeting mostly to put a final version of it on the record. "I was sending a message to whoever, anybody that thinks that that's a good idea," Alexander said. "I think it's a terrible idea."