Net Metering Decisions Prompt Suit Against NV Utility Commission
The recent changes in Nevada’s net metering policy have led to many heated debates and protests across the state. Now — following the class-action lawsuit filed against NV Energy — the battle is once again headed to the courts.
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) has filed a lawsuit against the Nevada state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), seeking to overturn the new decisions.
Nevada’s Net Metering Policy
In late December 2015, the PUC unanimously approved several revisions to the state’s net metering regulations.
The monthly fixed charge for solar customers was set to increase from $12.75 to $38.51. The increase was to take effect over four years, but the Nevada commission voted in February to extend the timeline to 12 years.
The rate for excess electricity individual solar users send to the grid also changed with the new policy. Solar customers will no longer get the full rate. The PUC decided that they will now be compensated at the wholesale rate, which is only about a third of the previous retail rate.
Ramifications of the Net Metering Guidelines
The increased monthly fixed charge and decreased rates don’t just apply to new solar customers; existing customers also are affected.
A grandfather clause to exempt existing customers from the changes was proposed to the commission, but the PUC refused to approve the provision in February. This is a first for the United States, as no other state has decided against a grandfathering provision.
As a result of the new policies, the Nevada solar industry has regressed.
Photovoltaic companies are seeing less interest in solar energy, and many high-profile industry members have stopped operating in the state. Hundreds of jobs have already been lost, at a time when thousands of solar jobs are being created in many other states.
Basis of the Net Metering Lawsuit
So how does this all add up to a lawsuit?
TASC alleges that the rate changes and lack of a grandfather clause benefit the utility company, NV Energy, at the expense of solar companies and their customers. TASC believes that the new guidelines will kill the solar industry in Nevada.
Nevada has laws that are intended to encourage renewable energy and stimulate economic growth in the state. According to the TASC, the decisions of the PUC defy these state laws and do not support the diversification of energy resources.
Intermountain Wind & Solar serves customers in Nevada, as well as Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado. We understand the ramifications that this and related decisions bring to our industry and our customers. Rest assured that we continue to closely monitor all important developments, and always strive to bring you the most up-to-date information on developments in the solar energy industry, including changes in net metering policies.