- New Mexico regulators last week rejected a request from El Paso Electric (EPE) to impose a monthly charge on residential customers with distributed generation (DG), PV Magazine reports. The ruling was on appeals from The Alliance for Solar Choice and Vote Solar, after a commission examiner approved the charges in September.
- The commission decided a charge targeting only DG-owners violates Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rules prohibiting discrimination against qualifying small power facilities through rates, permitting, or interconnection.
- This decision joins a series of other recent legal and regulatory rulings protecting DG owners from utility rate designs that target them as a special customer class.
In similar decisions, the Arizona Corporation Commission this fall rejected a request from Arizona Public Service to do a cost of service study that would have justified increasing the monthly charge to its solar owning customers.
And late last month, a Wisconsin Circuit Court judge ruled that We Energies' monthly charge on residential customers with solar is discriminatory, despite it being granted by the state’s Public Service Commission.
Regulators in several states have also recently acted to protect DG by keeping net energy metering (NEM) until fuller valuation models can be devised.
Nevada regulators suspended its NEM cap until the end of this year to give the legislature time to pass a new governing law. The New York Public Service Commission similarly ruled the state’s NEM cap would be extended until a new rate design is developed through the state’s landmark REV proceedings.
New Jersey has also recently increased its NEM caps, and Colorado regulators rejected a proposal to alter the state’s NEM policy.
Only in Hawaii has net metering seen significant changes lately. The Public Utilities Commission terminated the NEM program and replaced it with new options intended to protect both non-DG-owning utility customers and the long term sustainability of the local solar industry.