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4/13/2021 Senate passes Sosnowski legislation on net metering, transportation network companies for Block Island
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed two bills pertaining to Block Island that were introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown).

The first (2021-S 20023) would provide that the town of New Shoreham would have the exclusive authority to prescribe rules and regulations pertaining to the operation, licensing, and regulation of transportation network service companies and their services when TNCs are operating in the town of New Shoreham.

“This legislation would effectively give the New Shoreham Town Council the power to regulate transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft, requiring those companies to follow the same regulations that other taxi drivers on the island are asked to follow,” said Senator Sosnowski. “Due to the unique geography of the island, commercial motor vehicle operators are forced to limit their enterprises to a single town, which necessitates regulations that differ from the mainland or those islands that have access to the mainland via bridges.”

Those regulations, which are overseen by the town’s Commission on Motor Vehicles for Hire, include residency requirements, background checks, voter registration, a waiting list, licensing, and rates.

The second (2021-S 20022) would amend the maximum peak load of allowable capacity for the net metering systems in the Block Island Utility District and the Pascoag Utility District to not exceed a maximum peak load set by the utility district based on its operational characteristics, subject to commission approval. Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.

“Currently state law restricts net metering for private solar and wind installations at three percent of a utility’s peak output,” said Senator Sosnowski. “The Block Island Utility District Board of Commissioners have been developing a new policy for further installations. In order for that to happen, we need to lift the cap on net metering beyond the allowed three percent.”

Both bills now move to the House of Representatives where similar bills on TNCs (2021-H 5587) and net metering (2021-H 5588) have been introduced by House Minority Leader Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly).

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903