Amendment to SB 100 Addresses Most Concerns with the Latest Utility Industry Effort to Kill Rooftop Solar


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The original SB 100 was a utility-crafted bill intended to end net metering of electricity. For new customers seeking to install rooftop solar, the Public Service Commission would set the rate at which electricity flowing into the grid would be credited, and would be entitled to set rates for net metering customers discriminatorily, imposing rates designed to recover from those customers 100% of fixed and demand-based costs, increasing significantly the cost of electricity to net metering customers over what similarly-situated residential customers without rooftop solar would pay.

House Floor Amendment 1 (Duplessis) addressed most of the concerns with the original bill. The bill, as passed the House, does these things:

• Section 1(2)(c) allows leasing of systems to third parties without violating the “territorial” monopoly of the utilities, which helps address those situations where customers cannot afford the capital costs of installing systems.

• The amendment opens the door for one, rather than multiple, cases before the PSC to set the rate at which net metering customers will be credited for fed-in solar. It also provides that the Kentucky Solar Industry Association or other organization of retail installers shall have intervention rights – no small matter where the current PSC has singled out low-income advocates and excluded them from participating in rate cases.

• Allows the PSC to determine the interval, up to a month, where the electricity used and fed in to the system is “netted.” The industry bill, SB 100, makes it instantaneous, thus devaluing all solar rather than excess solar.

• Requires that in setting rates for solar customers, the PSC consider a list of identified benefits of solar.

• Adopts the clear grandfathering language in SB 100 crafted by KRC, and additionally provides a 10-year grandfather for anyone taking service before 2024.

The one remaining problem not addressed by Amendment 1, is that the bill still includes language in Section 1(4) defining net metering in terms of “dollar value” rather than kilowatt-hour credits, opening the possibility that utilities will argue that net meterers are “small qualifying facilities” under federal law and can only be compensated at the “avoided cost,” regardless of the real value of the solar electricity.

KRC encourages the House not to recede on the House-passed floor amendment to the Senate bill as a more fair and equitable balancing of utility and ratepayer interests.

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Additional coverage on SB 100 can be found here, here, and here.

 

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