- Sunrun, the third biggest U.S. rooftop solar installer, filed suit this week against Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R), seeking text messages between him and lobbyists for utility NV Energy about the state's net energy metering (NEM) policy debate.
- The suit is intended, accord to a Sunrun spokesperson, to expose communications between the Governor’s office and lobbyists Pete Ernaut, Greg Ferraro, Lorne Malkiewich, and Tony Sanchez during the time when solar advocates were lobbying Nevada lawmakers for an extension of the NEM cap opposed by NV Energy.
- The Governor’s office has turned over 131 pages of emails and everything “in our possession and control," a spokesperson said, but text messages on personal phones are not part of the public record. Sunrun argues they are public because they pertain to public matters.
Top NV Energy lobbyists Ernaut and Ferraro were two of Governor Sandoval's closest advisers during the debate on NEM, according to Sunrun. The debate started when it became clear the 235 MW cap on net metered installations, intended to last through the end of 2015, would be reached by the end of September this year.
Sunrun had warned the state’s regulators and legislators that reaching the NEM cap and terminating the policy could destroy the Nevada solar industry irreparably and cost 6,000 jobs. When the cap was reached, new solar builds in the residential sector essentially halted.
NV Energy, the state’s dominant electric utility, asked the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) for a new rate design. In response, the PUCN unanimously voted, in a stop-gap measure, to extend the NEM policy unchanged through the end of 2015.