NV Energy will not go quietly concerning the recent net metering revival in Nevada and has officially requested that the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) reverse its most recent decision to revive net metering in Northern Nevada. The PUCN has 40 days to grant or deny the request.
As you may recall, PUCN voted unanimously to allow a small portion of northern Nevada residents to sign up for net metering rates over the next three years. This came after early solar adopters were grandfathered back in under their previous deals, and now that this Sierra Pacific case went the way it did, some think a similar action by the PUC is possible in a future rate case for the utility’s Southern Nevada territory.
This is re-reversal on net metering policy is an issue for NV Energy because of how it affects their rate agreement from October 2016. At the time, NV Energy reached an agreement to lower annual electricity rates for residential and small general service customers by approximately $2.92 million annually, or a total of $8.77 million over the three-year period the current electricity rates are effective. This agreement assumed the cost savings would be shared across a broad base of northern Nevada electric customers.
So, this most recent PUCN decision changes that math as more money will need to be reallocated to future new solar net metering customers. The company’s filing also notes that the decision to apply the cost savings to this single class of private solar net metering customers is inconsistent with the October 2016 agreement reached with the Regulatory Operations Staff of the PUCN, the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Northern Nevada Industrial Electric Users, Northern Nevada Utility Customers, Newmont Mining, a coalition of local governmental entities, Nevadans for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy and Vote Solar.
NV Energy did appreciate these findings from the PUCN’s latest decision though:
• Net metering customers do not “go off the grid” and should be treated as a separate class of customers because they use the electric grid both to get and to deliver electricity to the grid.
• The establishment of a fair and equitable pricing structure is important to all Sierra Pacific electric customers, including those who make the decision to utilize private solar generation and those who do not.
• Credit for excess electricity energy that is delivered to the grid by private generation solar customers should be valued at a rate that is competitive with other solar options available to NV Energy. The PUCN establishes that competitive rate, in the short term, at 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
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