Support Letter for the “PURPA Modernization Act of 2019,” H.R. 1502

By at 4 April, 2019, 4:00 pm

The Honorable Tim Walberg

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C.  20515


Dear Representative Walberg:

On behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and our nationwide membership of entrepreneurs and small businesses, I am writing to voice our strong support for the “PURPA Modernization Act of 2019” (H.R. 1502). The cost of electricity is a major expense for many types of small businesses, and the outdated mandates in PURPA drive these costs higher in many areas of the country.

As you well know, every dollar counts for small businesses, and artificially high electricity costs hurt their ability to compete in the global marketplace while reducing available resources to invest in their businesses and workforce. The more these firms pay for electricity, the less capital available for wage increases and health coverage, for example, that can help small businesses compete for workers in the tight labor market.

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 – the now forty-year old law enacted in response to the energy crises – does not reflect the reality of today’s energy markets. The market is more competitive, diverse and abundant. The law is inflexible, incentivizes misuse and manipulation by “qualifying facilities,” and causes other market distortions that negatively impact efficiency, innovation and costs.

H.R. 1502 is a long overdue solution that addresses several key areas, including important fixes to the one-mile rule, lowering the 20 Megawatt threshold mandatory purchase obligation (reflecting a more competitive environment), and provides flexibility to state public utility commissions in waiving the mandatory purchase obligation on a case-by-case basis if additional power is not needed to meet current needs. These common-sense reforms are more aligned with the modern energy marketplace, and will help lower costs.

Oftentimes, consumers and businesses in rural areas are disproportionately impacted by the higher costs inflicted by PURPA’s mandates, which only represent another blow to these economically-challenged areas. Many members of Congress are focused on how to help rural America, and reforming PURPA through H.R. 1502 is an important part of the policy mix that needs to be considered and acted upon.

Thank you for your leadership Representative Walberg, and please let SBE Council know how we can help you advance H.R. 1502 through the House and into law.


Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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