NV Energy proposes net metering 'grandfathering' provision in new filing
- Nevada utility NV Energy filed a proposal earlier this week that maps a "grandfathering" provision relating to new net metering rates approved in December by the Public Utilities Comission of Nevada (PUCN).
- Under the proposal, rooftop solar customers who installed their systems or applied for one by Sept. 10, 2015 would be covered by the old retail rate net metering tariff for 20 years. The original PUCN ruling applied new, lower net metering rates to existing solar users as well as new ones.
- In the filing, the utility also laid out seven options for how regulators could implement the new rates, which lowered remuneration rates for rooftop solar systems from the retail to the wholesale price of electricity. Timelines in the proposal for implementing the new net metering rates range from four years — as the PUCN proposed in December — to 20 years.
NV Energy has filed a proposal aimed at allowing existing rooftop solar customers in its service area to retain retail rate net metering for their systems, at least for a time.
In December, the PUCN unanimously agreed on a new net metering policy that decreases the retail remuneration rate of the excess electricity from distributed solar systems exported to the grid to the wholesale rate. Those new rates and increased fixed charges would apply to all solar customers, even those with existing rooftop solar contracts that assume retail rate remuneration.
The decision spurred two major solar developers to pull operations from the state, following the example of Vivint Solar, which left after the 235 MW net metering cap was maxed out earlier in 2015.
But after frustrated backlash from solar customers — a lawsuit and a petition for repeal are in motion — the PUCN to announced it would reconsider its lack of a grandfathering provision. Soon after, NV Energy announced it would propose a grandfathering provision. The utility also added that it had never taken a position on grandfathering in its original filing in July 2015.
But some solar developers are suspicious of the surprise twist from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway-owned utility, and are pushing to keep the old rates for new and existing distributed solar users in perpetuity.
“This is now the second bait and switch from Berkshire Hathaway’s Nevada utility,” Bryan Miller, spokesman for The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) told the Associated Press. “Governor Sandoval’s Commission should grandfather in all solar users permanently and overturn the entire anti-solar decision.”
As it stands, the new rates will increase the monthly charge for NV Energy customers who own solar from the $12.75 to $17.90 and decrease their volumetric rate from $0.111/kWh to $0.108/kWh. The net metering credit for present and future solar owners would fall from $0.11/kWh to $0.09/kWh in the first year, and then to $0.026/kWh in 2020. Monthly basic service charges will scale up gradually to reach $38.51 and the volumetric rate will fall to $0.099/kWh over four years.
The PUC also created a seperate rate class for all small commercial and residential net metering customers and added a time-of-use pricing option for all. The new rates and increases in fixed charges are designed to better recoup infrastructure costs from customers with rooftop solar, who the utility charges do not pay their fair share for grid upkeep.
- AP via Reno Gazette-Journal NV Energy files ideas to soften solar rate hike
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