Arizona regulators to reconsider grandfathering provisions in NEM decision

Dive Brief:

  • The Arizona Corporation Commission will vote this week to reconsider a request from the Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) over the dates for when the grandfathering provisions of its December net metering will take effect, the Arizona Daily Star reports. 
  • Last month, regulators voted to replace retail net metering with an export rate valued at the same price of a utility-scale power purchase agreement, also known as the Resource Comparison Proxy. 
  • That decision grandfathered in existing installations, but Arizona Public Service Co., supported by solar advocates, wants to ensure systems pending applications are also included, instead of when the installations are connected to the grid. 

Dive Insight:

It's rare that the solar industry and utilities wind up on the same side of net metering debates, but there seems to be agreement that the ACC's grandfather provisions were flawed and must be changed. Just weeks after regulators voted to change net metering rules, the agenda for this week's ACC public meeting includes an order to alter that decision.

The commission voted in December on a new policy to replace retail net metering with an export rate tied to the rates granted larger facilities. But the wording of the decision meant only existing systems would be grandfathered in and keep their existing retail rates. The Arizona Daily Star reports that a few days after the vote, Arizona Public Service Co. asked regulators to amend those provisions. 

Both the utility and solar advocates say the grandfathering provisions need to apply to pending applications for interconnection, not at the date when those systems actually connect to the grid. According to the Star, APS told regulators in its filing that "otherwise, whether a customer is grandfathered could be determined not by when a customer makes a decision to submit an application to interconnect." Instead, the number of pending applications and time to act on themall factors outside a customer's controlcould be the determining factor.

In addition to APS, Tucson Electric Power, the Alliance for Solar Choice and the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association all support the change. And last week, an administrative law judge submitted a recommendation supporting that request. 

The recommendation, in more than a dozen spots, replaces language like "is interconnected" with "files for interconnection." The actual rates will be set in upcoming utility rate cases. 

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Distributed Energy
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