2022 Annual Conference Registration is Open! – Join us August 8-10 in Cherokee, NC for our Annual Conference

Legislative Update

April 19

Updates from Raleigh and D.C.

The North Carolina primary election is set to take place on May 17. The most watched primaries will decide the Democrat and Republican candidates who will face off for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Richard Burr. Additionally. four state representatives and four state senators will be facing other incumbents due to redistricting.
The General Assembly begins its short session on May 18, where there will likely be a heavy emphasis on budget surplus and health care. We at ElectriCities will continue to work on our priorities including strengthening the Value of Public Power, pole attachments issues, and critical infrastructure protection. Also, see the news about the western regional roundtable below.
In Washington, Congressional hearings have begun on President Biden’s budget proposal, which asks for significant increases from prior fiscal years for energy efficiency, renewables, and climate-related items.
In other news, Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to authorize support for electric vehicle components, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese, among other minerals and materials that are needed for large capacity batteries. And the EPA is set to issue a series of white papers that will cover pollution from power generation. These white papers will provide an overview of how the agency intends to regulate the power sector.
Lastly, both the House and Senate are discussing further COVID relief funding bills, but a final package is far from a certainty.

 

1st of 3 regional meetings: Gastonia, April 25 

Please join us Monday for the first of three spring regional roundtable meetings for ElectriCities members coming up soon:
  • Monday, April 25 in Gastonia
  • Wednesday, June 1 in Lumberton
  • Wednesday, June 8 in Tarboro
During these half-day meetings, we’ll discuss:
  • Current events and issues that our public power communities are facing.
  • The progress of our Value of Public Power campaign.
  • ElectriCities services and how they address members’ challenges.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and how members can apply for and use these funds.
Attendance is free and includes lunch.
Staff from across your municipality can benefit from attending, including those in:
  • City or town management
  • Technology planning
  • Financial planning
  • Customer service and customer engagement
  • Communications (PIOs and staff handling customer-facing programs)
  • Electric system planning and management
Questions? Contact Gregg Welch, manager of programs and services at ElectriCities.

 

ElectriCities featured social media: APPA Rally meetings

“Many thanks to the office of @GKButterfield for meeting to discuss the transition to a #sustainable energy future & #broadband deployment in northeastern NC. It’s hard to lose such a good friend to #NCPublicPower, but we hope you enjoy a well-deserved retirement!” 

 

Energy Committee leaders ask Granholm to lead energy cybersecurity efforts

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), along with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Barasso (R-WY) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm asking her to ensure that the Department of Energy maintains its existing authority as the Sector Risk Management Agency for energy sector cybersecurity.
The committee leaders also ask Secretary Granholm to “urge the Secretary of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to harmonize existing cyber incident reporting requirements in order to provide clarity and consistency.”
The letter comes one month after President Biden signed into law the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022, which was incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The legislation requires critical infrastructure entities to report cyber incidents to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security (CISA) within 72 hours and ransomware payments within 24 hours. CISA is directed to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the reporting requirements within 24 months. The bill includes provisions directing the federal government to “harmonize” existing reporting requirements with new requirements.

 

ACE Rule arguments

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week in a case seeking to limit EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The dispute began in 2015 with the Obama administration’s adoption of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that sought to combat climate change by reducing carbon pollution from power plants. In 2019, the Trump administration’s EPA repealed the Clean Power Plan, replacing it with a more lenient policy, known as the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, that established emissions guidelines only for existing coal-fired steam plants. The administration argued that the CPP was an overstep of EPA authority.

In January 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, vacated the ACE Rule, and sent the issue back to the EPA for more proceedings. The Supreme Court then granted a request by Republican-led states and coal companies to review that ruling; meanwhile, the Biden administration EPA has indicated that it will not reinstate the Clean Power Plan and is instead drafting its own rules on GHGs from power plants.

The court’s ruling on this issue, expected by the end of June, could dramatically impact the level of regulation we could see from the EPA in coming years.

 

May deadline for electric vehicle charging grants through DEQ 

In February, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) released a Phase 2 Request for Proposals for DC fast-charging infrastructure along priority corridors in North Carolina. Several ElectriCities communities received funding from the first phase of the Volkswagen settlement funds.
In Phase 2 of the program, $4.9 million in Volkswagen funds will be allocated to the DC Fast Program – Priority Corridors. This program is designed to continue the expansion of the state’s ZEV fast charging infrastructure network along priority designated corridors.
Applications, which must be submitted through the DAQ grant management system, are due May 16. 

 

NC Homeowner Assistance Fund 

Established through the American Rescue Plan of 2021, the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund was created for homeowners in North Carolina to help prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements and foreclosures due to COVID-19.
Assistance is available up to $40,000 per eligible household, as long as funding is available, and will be made directly to the mortgage servicer or other eligible third party.
For eligible homeowners, the fund covers:
      • Housing payment assistance for primary residence in North Carolina (for example, single-family home, townhome, condo or mobile home).
      • Assistance for mortgage reinstatement to catch up on late payments (first and second mortgages) or other housing-related costs due to a period of forbearance, delinquency or default.
      • Assistance covering other housing-related costs such as homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s association dues/fees or delinquent property taxes to prevent foreclosure.
The application website is now active here.

 

Dates We’re Watching

April 25: Western regional roundtable, Gastonia

April 26-27: 2022 State Energy Conference, Raleigh

May 17: N.C. Primary election

May 18: N.C. General Assembly convenes for 2022 regular session

Aug. 8-10: ElectriCities’ 2022 Annual Conference, Cherokee, N.C.

 

Contact us

Drew Elliot

Manager, Government Affairs

919-760-6322

Rhian Ray

Senior Public Affairs Specialist

919-760-6325