- The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) ruled Tucson Electric Power (TEP) must wait until its next rate case in 2016 to alter its net energy metering (NEM) remuneration. It further instructed the utility to remove from its marketing materials a notification to customers that rooftop systems interconnected after June 1, 2015, might be remunerated under reduced NEM rates.
- The TEP March filing to reduce its NEM retail rate remuneration for solar energy-generated electricity sent to its grid was formally withdrawn, with commission approval, after staff and solar advocates opposed it.
- With its push to reduce the NEM remuneration rate blocked, TEP argued that its online notification to customers was merely an effort to inform potential solar buyers. Local solar installers testified the notification has helped slow their businesses.
“The reimbursement rate should be the rate the utility pays for wholesale solar generation from utility-scale projects connected to its distribution system,” TEP Senior Director Carmine Tilghman told Utility Dive in describing TEP’s request in docket 15-0100.
“I can buy solar energy from a larger scale project on my distribution system, paid for by my ratepayers, at $0.058 per kWh," he said, "half the price I am forced to credit people who push energy back on the grid from net metered systems.”
“Leave it at retail rate net metering,” responded attorney Court Rich, who represents The Alliance for Solar Choice, a solar industry advocacy group. “The overwhelming majority of studies around the country back up the fact that retail rate reimbursement is fair and might even be low in some cases. It is also easy for customers to understand and fairly compensates them.”
Commissioner Doug Little said TEP’s notification about a June 1 change in rates had the appearance of retroactive ratemaking, which goes against ACC practices.