Sununu thwarts attempt to pass bipartisan net metering bill

In his first veto of 2020, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu rejected a bipartisan renewable energy metering bill he claimed would raise electric rates to the tune of “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

State Sen. Shannon Chandley (D-Milford), said she’s sorry that this bill didn’t have better political mojo.

“The governor vetoed the bill for the third time,” she said. “Even though this was a bipartisan bill, and Republican, Jeb Bradley sponsored, it would have cut down the energy used on site. I’m sorry that yet another bipartisan bill didn’t make it through. Democrats and Republicans have to work together for the people of this state.”

The bill, SB 159, would expand the magnitude of a maximum allowable energy net metering project from 1 megawatt to 5.

In a statement, Michael Beyer, New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesperson, said, “Chris Sununu is so subservient to carrying out the agenda of his campaign donors that he rejected this simple compromise bill. By blocking net metering, Sununu stands in the way of lower electric rates and property taxes. Sununu’s sole interest is helping his family and the corporate special interest donors who fund his campaign at the expense of New Hampshire.”

Senate Bill 159 was designed as an attempt to increase the amount of renewable energy cities and businesses could generate themselves.

On the phone, Beyer added the bill, which has gone back and forth before the legislature, was vetoed twice in 2019.

“This time around, the legislature gave some concessions and sent him this bill as a compromise, to see how far he would go,” said Beyer. “And he vetoed it again.”

In a press release, Sununu said, “I am committed to finding a true compromise,” Sununu said in a news release. “We have the opportunity to move forward with a smarter clean energy policy, done the New Hampshire way. I have worked with legislators to propose new legislation that expands access to net metering for cities, towns, and businesses and still lower their electricity bills.”

The Democratic party isn’t so sure about that.

Beyer said the Sununu campaign received $95,000 from Eversource, which opposes net metering.

Chris Sununu’s last year has been marked by accusations of partisanship.

And in a now infamous antic, Sununu vetoed paid family leave for Granite Staters, and then literally auctioned off a copy of his veto at an auction at a July 4 fundraiser hosted by the Winnipesaukee Republican Committee .

The stunt was received with laughter of the party activists. Sununu also auctioned off the New Hampshire and American flags which flew over the State House on the day of the veto, May 9.

Sununu said, “If I auctioned off every bad piece of legislation passed by the Democrats, I could triple the state’s rainy-day fund.”

In response, Holly Shulman, party spokesperson for a New Hampshire Democratic Party tracker, said, “I wish I could say I was surprised, but we’ve known for a long time that Sununu has been offering up his vetoes to the highest bidder.”

In 2019, Sununu vetoed 57 bills from the Democratically-led legislature, the most by any governor since New Hampshire has been a state.