Indiana Senate committee clears bill to end net metering
- The Indiana Senate Utilities Committee voted 8-2 last week to advance a bill that would phase out net metering by 2027, heeding the concerns of a Republican lawmaker who says solar customers are getting hefty subsidies.
- Senate Bill 309 replaces net metering with a policy requiring solar customers to sell all the energy they produce to the utility, and purchase it back as needed.
- Local news station WLFI reports the bill's sponsor, Sen. Brandt Hershman (R), received almost $20,000 in campaign contributions from utilities in the last year, leading some critics to question the motives behind the bill.
Opponents of the bill have offered up several reasons to vote against it: they say there is no reason to rush it through, they've questioned Hershman's motives, and they disagree solar customers get significant subsidies in Indiana's nascent market. But the committee vote means it heads to the full Senate, which is under Republican control.
Opponents of the measure want state regulators to set solar rates, as opposed to legislators. Hershman, however, argues the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission must take its cue from lawmakers, while fending off accusations of campaign contributions swaying his decision.
Under SB 309, solar customers would sell all of the power they produce at a wholesale rate of about $0.03/KWh, and purchase the power they need at $0.11/KWh. The balance would go towards the utility's cost of maintaining the grid. After June 30, 2027, "an electricity supplier may not make a net metering tariff available to customers," according to the bill.
The state's net metering policy is capped at 1% of investor-owned utilities' summer peak, and all of the state's utilities have room left in their programs.
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter