- The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) will consider delaying implementation of its recent order altering electricity rates and reducing the net energy metering (NEM) credit for distributed generation to below the current the retail rate for electricity exported back to the grid.
- The new rates, approved in December, were to go into effect at the beginning of the year, but the Bureau of Consumer Protection division of the Nevada Attorney General's Office and others asked that implementation be postponed until regulators could further consider the NEM ruling.
- The Nevada consumer advocate argues that the commission’s decision that current rooftop solar and other DG owners, along with future DG owners, would get the reduced NEM credit instead of being "grandfathered" into the retail rate could be a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s contracts clause.
The new rates, approved by the PUCN in December, will increase the monthly charge for NV Energy customers who own DG from $12.75 to $17.90 per month in the southern Nevada region and from $15.25 to $21.09 in the northern region.
The NEM credit would fall from $0.11/kWh to $0.09/kWh in the southern region and from $0.12/kWh to $0.105/kWh in the northern region. The monthly charge will progressively rise and the NEM credit will progressively drop annually through 2020.
The regulators’ NEM changes were a response to NV Energy concerns that reduced revenues coming from Nevada’s 17,000 net metered customers shifts costs for building and maintaining the state’s electricity delivery infrastructure to its non-DG-owning customers.
The ruling could violate the constitution’s contracts clause, critics of the decision argue, because it undermines contracts between solar customers and installers of third party owned (TPO) solar systems like SolarCity. The 20-year or longer leasing agreements are based on the retail rate NEM credit. Because they have concluded the reduced credit erodes the solar value proposition, SolarCity, Vivint, and other national TPO solar providers have stopped Nevada operations.
Regulators will meet Thursday in the state to consider a pause in the implementation of the new rates.