Rocky Mountain Power, a utility company under the PacifiCorp umbrella, has proposed a new methodology for calculating net metering fees that would result in a signficant price spike for solar customers. The power company claims the new fees will ensure solar customers pay their fair share, but the solar industry and clean energy advocates say this is really about killing the competition.
The Denver Post reports (http://dpo.st/2fnhMu5) the state Public Utilities Commission approved the deal Wednesday.
Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson Paul Murphy said, "For a typical rooftop solar customer who uses 1000 kWh per month and gets half of their energy from rooftop solar panels they are right now paying about $55 a month, under this new rate that same customer would pay about $74 a month".
Those costs - which the utility company says will balloon to $667 million over the next 20 years - are driving a proposed three-prong rate increase for any new solar customers after December 9.
The proposal comes in response to the utility's new study that concluded rooftop solar customers are being subsidised by non-solar customers. "It will prevent almost any Utahn from putting rooftop solar system in place in the future and frankly this has everything to do with the industry's profits and nothing to do with Utah families".
"Solar has become affordable recently to a wide range of Utah families", Pacenza said.
While the utility claims the new rates will only increase fees on new solar customers by about $20 dollars a month industry leaders disagree. "30 Years is the average lifespan of a solar system".
On November 15, 2016 leading representatives from politics and business will gather for the Intersolar Summit Iran in Tehran to discuss the market potential and investment chances in the region's emerging solar market.
"For us, we think it is an outrageous and unfair move by a monopoly", he said.
"Rocky Mountain Power supports renewable resources as long as an appropriate rate is in place that allows customers to use private generation without adversely affecting other residential customers", said Greg Hoogeveen, Rocky Mountain Power's senior vice president and chief commercial officer.
Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy, said she too believed the proposal was the worst she had seen in any state in the US, save Nevada, which she said has a similar rate structure for net-metering customers. While we recognize we may need to make changes to net metering, this draconian proposal will hurt Utahns for years to come. "Rocky Mountain Power's recent filing isn't just a step backward, it is a leap in the wrong direction", said Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy.
The new fees would apply only to new solar customers.