- A bill targeting net metering in Missouri is pitting the state's utilities against its solar industry, the Missouri Times reports.
- Missouri House Bill 481 calls for a comprehensive study of solar’s costs and benefits by the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC). It proposes that if the PSC discovers a cost shift to non-solar utility customers, a “sub base rate" — a variation of a monthly fixed fee — might resolve differences between utilities and solar advocates.
- Missouri’s rural electric co-ops and KCP&L and Ameren Missouri, its dominant IOUs, want a monthly fixed fee to cover transmission and distribution system maintenance costs lost when customers solar owners customers install rooftop solar, lowering their demand for energy from the grid.
Missouri's regular legislative session concludes May 30, so while the Missouri Times reports that the bill's sponsor does not expect the net metering bill to pass this year, there's still a fight to be had about whether it will remain in consideration, and which amendments will be retained. The bill was referred to the Select Committee on Utilities on March 17.
Solar advocates argue a study of solar’s costs and benefits will show its benefits to the system exceed its costs and that utilities’ call for fixed fees is in defense of an unworkable business model.
“[Solar advocates] are afraid some of this language kills them,” said Republican Representative T.J. Berry, the bill’s sponsor and Chair of the Select Committee on Utilities. “But it depends on what the level is, and in my bill, that decision about a sub base rate is left up to the Missouri Public Service Commission …”
“My position is nothing passes this year,” said Democratic Senator and solar advocate Jason Holsman. “I don’t oppose a reasonable effort to recover a fixed loss cost …The key word is reasonable. And I think we need a study to fully realize the net costs and benefits of solar. Understanding the value versus the cost will make it much easier to determine what a reasonable amount is to collect for a fixed loss cost.”