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Utility Dive: Utilities Stay Silent on Proposal to Federalize Net Metering as States Call it a 'threat' to Solar Policy

Posted by Catherine Morehouse on Jun 4, 2020

Utility Dive covered states' growing opposition to net metering challenge, quoting several commissioners on AEE's recent Net Energy Metering and State Authority webinar. Read excerpts below and the entire UD piece here.

Opposition is growing against a proposal that would effectively allow any customer-sited generation to be subject to federal regulation, and it's unclear who outside the petitioner will support the proposal. States have decried the move as an attack on state autonomy to regulate behind-the-meter generation such as rooftop solar and storage, one that represents a "threat" to state policies they have crafted. 

"We have project developers with hundreds of hours coming up with innovative things that address some of these issues, and [NERA wants] a one-size-fits-all federalization. That's what's at stake and I obviously don't like that," Arkansas Public Service Commission Chair Ted Thomas said Wednesday...

Thomas, who spoke on the issue during an Advanced Energy Economy webinar, is leading a volunteer working group under the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (NARUC) to prepare comments on the petition, which was first filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) in April.

States have been particularly vocal in their opposition to the NERA petition, joined by Democratic federal lawmakers, clean energy advocates and others. Power trade associations, including Edison Electric Institute, Electric Power Supply Association and American Public Power Association have stayed largely quiet thus far on how they'll weigh in...

NERA in its petition asked 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." Questions of who is funding the group have been raised by several stakeholders, and were also raised in a letter sent by 24 Congress members last week. The group has not responded to any requests for comment on its funders or on the mounting opposition to its proposal.

Distributed energy compensation policies exists in some form across 45 states, with 38 having some form of net energy metering. State regulators worry that homogenous regulation could harm their efforts to integrate specific state policies with utility needs...

Read the entire UD piece here.

Topics: AEE In The News