Montgomery County Choice Energy Legislation Passes with Overwhelming Support

Original Source | By: Food & Water Watch

For Immediate Release

Annapolis, MD — Today, the Maryland legislature gave final approval to legislation to establish a CCE pilot program in Montgomery County that will now head to the governor for his signature. The Maryland House of Delegates’ vote today (96-40) continued the trend of overwhelming support for the bill, with the Senate having passed it unanimously earlier this week. With today’s vote, Maryland becomes the ninth state in the nation to allow CCE programs.

The passage of CCE pilot legislation (HB 768), championed by Delegate Charkoudian (D-20) and Senator Feldman (D-15), is a victory for energy democracy. With CCE, Montgomery County residents will have more control over the County’s energy selection process, ensuring a more democratic choice of energy source, as well as more affordable and equitable access to clean and renewable energy.

Since their declaration of a climate emergency in 2017, Montgomery County has long been a leader in climate-forward policies in Maryland. The CCE pilot program is another tool in the climate mitigation toolbox for the County government and residents. Advocates celebrate the victory, which paves the way for greater CCE adoption across the state.

“We are proud to have worked with grassroots groups and volunteers in Montgomery County and around the state to pass this legislation,” said Food & Water Watch Maryland Organizer Lily Hawkins. “Community Choice Energy programs take the power away from utility companies and put it into the hands of local residents to choose where their energy comes from. Across the country, CCE is a powerful tool to help local governments move off dirty fossil fuels. We are confident that Montgomery County’s pilot program is the first step to establishing CCE around the state as a means of ensuring more affordable and equitable access to clean, renewable energy.”

“I am thrilled at the passage of the bill allowing a Community Choice Energy pilot program in Montgomery County,” said Montgomery County Delegate Lorig Charkoudian (D-20). “This provides a key tool for the County to fight climate change and protect rate-payers. In the nine states that currently enable CCEs, we see local governments able to increase renewable energy and use bulk purchasing to lower rates for consumers.”

“As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I am pleased to have played a key role in gaining passage of the CCE bill,” said Montgomery County Senator Brian Feldman (D-15). “This pro-environment, pro-consumer bill is a critical component for our County to achieve its laudable greenhouse gas reduction goals.”  

“I want to thank the General Assembly for passing this legislation and a special thanks to Delegate Lorig Charkoudian and Senator Brian Feldman for their leadership and to all the advocates, including Food and Water Watch,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “CCE offers an important tool for combating climate change and will assist Montgomery County in our work towards a healthier and more sustainable environment for our residents. We are addressing the challenge of climate change with a great sense of urgency, the passage of this legislation is very helpful.”

“This program allows local governments to expand clean renewable energy instead of relying on dirty fossil fuels,” said Montgomery Council President Tom Hucker. “We cannot achieve our clean energy goals without taking this critical step toward community choice energy.”

“The NAACP supports Community Choice Energy because it’s the truest manifestation of energy democracy,” said Reverend Kobi Little, Political Action Chair of the NAACP Maryland State Conference. “Community Choice Energy will give low income communities access to renewable energy to low income communities who wouldn’t otherwise have the option to say we don’t want to pollute our environment. This is a victory for energy justice.” 

“We’re so excited that energy democracy is coming to Montgomery County, bringing lower rates and more renewable energy to residents and businesses – it’s a game-changer,” said Laurie McGilvray, Co-Chair of the Takoma Park Mobilization Environment Committee.

“We will look back one day and see that this bill was a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change in Maryland,” said Mike Tidwell, Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund. “Montgomery County now has more control of its clean energy destiny with electricity. It can do more and do it faster. We thank all the legislators and advocates who made this historic day happen.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt

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