Net Metering Debates Heat Up

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Net metering policies evolved in several states this year, including Michigan, Connecticut, and Maine. Meanwhile, other states such as Kentucky saw heated battles sure to return.

PACE supports changes in net metering laws that bring more fairness to the system – paying retail rates instead of avoided costs for net metering subsidizes electricity bills for a small number of residents and puts more costs on low and fixed-income families.

Increasingly, states are taking a hard look at their net metering policies and aiming to bring payments in line with market rates, despite strong pushback from the renewable energy industry.

Net metering reform continues as one of the most controversial battles in domestic energy policy. This year, Michigan and Connecticut passed important reforms that bring fairness to net metering payments. Maine’s Governor Paul LePage protected consumers by once again vetoing legislation that sought to undo similar reforms in his state.

At PACE, we support policies that promote affordable energy for all. We absolutely believe in the value of solar as a clean, renewable energy source.

But if states sustain true net metering, they are essentially saying that private solar electrons (rooftop or ground-mount systems at an individual home or business) are worth more and that everyone must chip in to pay for them.

It’s important to protect against policies that allow a small number of customers to have their energy costs subsidized by everyone else, including many low and fixed-income families.

States are right to carefully examine their net metering policies to ensure net metering payments accurately reflect private solar grid benefits and costs, and that those payments don’t distort the energy marketplace by paying excessive rates for private solar generation.

We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments with net metering as debates continue across the country. This fall, watch for an update of our 2017 report. We’ll provide a snapshot by state and U.S. territory of the current policies, recent significant developments, and our assessment of whether policies properly value all consumers.