Oklahoma Energy Today reported on a New England group's filing on net metering with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that could impact renewable energy, quoting AEE's Jeff Dennis. Read excerpts below and the entire Oklahoma Energy Today piece here. Utility Dive also covered the story, quoting Dennis.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is being asked to make a decision on “net metering” and it could possibly affect how Oklahoma utilities handle rates for solar and wind powered electricity. Under Oklahoma law, utilities are not allowed to impose extra charges for customers signed up for net metering up to 100kw in size or 25,000 khw/year, which ever is less. Nor can the utilities require new liability insurance as a condition for interconnection. But a recent filing has some legal experts suggesting that if okayed by FERC, it will “end net metering as we know it,” according to a report by Utility Dive.
The petition from the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) asks FERC to “declare that there is exclusive federal jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales from generation sources located on the customer side of the retail meter.” In other words, NERA makes the case that any behind-the-meter, or customer-sited, energy generation is a wholesale sale, subject to FERC jurisdiction. The group’s points echo some of the issues raised by utilities and their trade groups, which have long argued that forcing utilities to pay rooftop solar owners for the excess power they produce is unfair to ratepayers who don’t site solar. But the fact that the issue is being raised by a non-profit regional ratepayers group is raising eyebrows for some...
In effect, the policy would not have immediate consequences, but would change the federal commission’s precedent set in previous cases, where the commission ruled net metering compensation was not the same as a wholesale sale. NERA disagrees with this premise, arguing that it was “improper for the Commission to do so,” in an FAQ emailed to Utility Dive by NERA president Marc Brown. If successful, the petition would ensure that “any excess energy delivered to the utility at any time is a wholesale sale, subject to FERC jurisdiction,” Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel at Advanced Energy Economy told Utility Dive. “Therefore, it’s either a sale under [the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)] subject to avoided cost pricing, or the customer essentially has to have a rate on file with FERC...”