In the latest development out of Nevada, the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has indicated that it will consider an appeal from Nevada’s Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) asking to “grandfather in” existing solar customers under the prior, more favorable net metering program.
According to a draft order posted on Wednesday, the commission “grants BCP’s request for a rehearing on the issue of ‘grandfathering.'” The order says the PUC will hear the case on Jan. 25.
If the order is approved by the commission, Public Utilities Commissioner David Noble will hear testimony and consider any evidence brought forward to decide if the new rates should be applied retroactively, as originally proposed, or solely for new customers. Noble will then make a recommendation to the full commission for final approval.
In its appeal, the BCP states that it considers this issue “a matter of integrity and honor that will severely damage the reputation of Nevada’s government and its ability to persuade customers to engage in programs in the future if the perception is created that the commission will not honor or recognize deals prior commissions or legislatures once offered to encourage people to participate in programs that, in many cases, cost them thousands of dollars out of their own pockets.”
The PUC’s ruling on rooftop solar has been met with opposition and, in a few cases, outrage ever since it was first announced on Dec. 22.
As previously reported, a class-action lawsuit has been filed by two Las Vegas rooftop solar customers against NV Energy, claiming the utility “conspired to unlawfully reduce the incentives provided via the Solar Program, increasing base rates or service charges only for solar customers in order to reduce competition and increase their own revenues.”
Further, three of the state’s biggest solar companies – SolarCity, Sunrun and Vivint – have been forced to layoff significant numbers of employees and/or cease all operations and sales in the state as a result of this change.
Even if the PUC agrees to grandfather in existing PV installations, it is likely that the solar industry will continue to push back against the new rates.
SolarCity’s CEO, Lyndon Rive, released a statement on Tuesday making his stance known to the Gov. Sandoval administration and pledging to stand up for Nevada’s solar customers.
“I have promised SolarCity’s Nevada employees and customers that I will continue to fight for them,” Rive says. “I believe when they hear and understand the facts, all Nevadans will join the fight against this unfair decision. This governor and his commissioners will hear more from all of us in the coming days.”