- A Nevada utilities regulator stands by net metering decisions this year and last at an energy conference in Arizona, and described the chaotic protests and demonstrations that surrounded the decisions as "uncalled for," the Arizona Republic reports.
- At one point in February, worries over armed protestors briefly sparked worries and causing the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada Commissioner David Noble and others to be ushered out by security.
- The PUC last year cut the rate paid to solar customers, both new and existing, and in February declined to grandfather existing customers into the new rates. Tensions ratcheted up ahead of that decision, and Noble said the commission received hundreds of phone calls daily.
Nevada PUC Commissioner Noble spoke to the Arizona Energy Conference and The Republic has the details on his presentation, including descriptions of heightened tensions surrounding net metering decisions and why regulators stuck to their guns when it came to new rates.
"In 19 years with the commission, I've never seen anything quite like it," Noble told the audience. Prior being selected in 2011 to serve as a commissioner, he worked in other capacities at the PUC. "As the decision time got closer, the rhetoric continued to increase."
The situation peaked, he said, with armed protestors and up to 500 robocalls flowing into the commission each day.
In December, Nevada regulators approved new rates that increase the monthly charge for NV Energy customers who own solar from the $12.75 to $17.90 and decreased their volumetric rate from $0.111/kWh to $0.108/kWh. Monthly basic service charges will scale up gradually to reach $38.51 and the volumetric rate will fall to $0.099/kWh.
Several provisions provoked anger from the state's solar sector, including the controversial absence of a "grandfather" provision that failed to incorporated 17,000 existing distributed solar users into the new rates and fees, along with the new users. Leading solar developers SolarCity and Sunrun ceased operations in the state shortly after the ruling, terminating more than 600 jobs. A group of rooftop solar customers also filed a class action lawsuit against NV Energy.
Those new rates will also approve to existing customers, the issue which was most hotly-contested in February. "All that does is kick the can down the road," Noble said, according to The Republic. He said the commission stands behind its decision to raise rates.
Arizona is also no stranger to controversial net metering procedures. Last year, state underwent some very heated policy debates over its net metering policies, which finally resulted in a generic docket being opened to study the costs and benefits of solar.