NV Energy proposes grandfathering rooftop solar customers
- NV Energy filed a proposal this week to grandfather rooftop solar customers into Nevada's original net metering rates for 20 years, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The new net metering policy approved earlier this year reduced the remuneration rate paid to distributed solar owners and put all new and existing users on the new rates.
- Under the utility's proposal, customers who filed applications before December 31, 2015, or had applications pending at the time, would be grandfathered under the original retail rate remuneration.
- The utility requested the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to make a decision within 90 days. The filing comes days before the state Supreme Court is set to decide on whether or not a referendum aimed to restore the original net metering policy will make it on the November ballot.
This isn't the first time NV Energy has tried to assuage the concerns of frustrated rooftop solar customers by proposing grandfathering some customers into the old net metering rates after the controversial new policy was issued last year.
The new policy reduced the remuneration under net metering from the retail rate to the wholesale rate, created a seperate rate class for small commercial and residential solar users, and established a time-of-use pricing option for all customers that will be gradually implemented over 12 years. Regulators also approved an increase in fixed charges and a decrease in the volumetric commodity charge to recoup costs from net metering customers.
But perhaps the biggest sticking point in the decision was that regulators excluded a grandfathering provision in the decision — the first time that has occurred in net metering debates across the U.S. Two solar companies to exited the state shortly after the decision was issued, calling it unsustainable for their businesses.
"After a number of recent failed attempts to negotiate a resolution of this grandfathering issue with out-of-state private solar suppliers, it became clear that NV Energy needed to step up and act alone," said Paul Caudill, CEO of NV Energy, in a statement. "I have spoken with many of these net metering customers personally, and understand and empathize with their concern. We simply did not want to wait any longer to offer a solution on their behalf and believe our filing today represents the most efficient and timely way to do that."
After the decision was finalized in January, NV Energy issued its first grandfathering proposal. Unlike the second proposal, the first one did not have a deadline attached to it. Regulators reaffirmed their decision in February, approving a draft proposal written by Commissioner David Noble that extended the timeline for rate changes, but excluded a grandfathering provision.
Commissioner Noble will not be reappointed after the end of his term this year, Utility Dive recently learned — a fact the governor’s office confirmed. Noble lifted the lid on the controversy surrounding the decision at the recent NARUC summer meetings, blasting the solar companies involved in the proceeding for taking an "all-or-nothing approach."
NV Energy's latest proposal is similar to recommendations made by Gov. Brian Sandoval's New Energy Industry Task Force. Like NV Energy's filing, the task force suggests a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015 to grandfather existing solar customers. The group has also been tasked with devising an alternative solar incentive to net metering by Sept. 30.
- Las Vegas Review-Journal NV Energy files to grandfather in some rooftop solar customers
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