Let’s apply the logic of the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to other situations.
They say those who don’t buy as much electricity as their neighbors, because they generate their own power with solar panels are being subsidized by those neighbors who are bearing a greater portion of the fixed cost of the grid and therefore solar panel owners should pay more for the sake of fairness.
So, if you grow your own tomatoes in your backyard and only buy tomatoes between ripe crops, you should pay more for those tomatoes because your neighbors are paying for the shipping and handling of those store bought tomatoes.
If you drive a gas-sipping car, you should pay more per gallon to cover the cost of drilling, refining and transportation.
If you never get sick, you should pay more to cover the cost of building hospitals and training doctors, because you are not covering your fair share of infrastructure costs.
From each according to their means, to each according to their needs — the definition of a monopoly market.
I’ve explained it before to no avail.
On Friday the PUC voted unanimously to slash net-metering rates and treble connection fees for all solar panel owners, including those who bought and paid for them under promises that they could get a return on their investments. Suckers!
According to Investor’s Business Daily’s front page article today Sunrun executives were already planning to file suit.
“Fully 89% of Nevadans believe that the Public Utilities Commission made the wrong decision when it ended net-metering, refused to grandfather existing solar customers at their current rates and destroyed one of the fastest-growing solar sectors in the country,” a solar executive told IBD via email.
As noted here before too, the PUC did stretch out the implementation over 12 years instead of four.
Gov. Brian Sandoval, who appoints the PUC members, put out a handwringing statement bemoaning the decision, but failed to indicate he would do a damned thing about it.
“While I have respected the Commission and its deliberations by not influencing its process, the PUC did not reach the outcome I had hoped for. I remained optimistic that the Commission would find a solution that considered the economic consequences to existing rooftop solar owners. Today’s decision does not go far enough to protect their interests.
“Renewable energy development in Nevada is a priority for me and an important and evolving issue. I remain committed to providing a path for Nevada to continue to explore the potential of our vast renewable energy portfolio while ensuring Nevada has an equitable system that balances energy policy with just and reasonable utility rates. There is no greater friend to the solar industry than my Administration. In 2011, I signed legislation enacting policies to stand up the rooftop solar market. In 2013, I approved another measure that doubled the net metering cap. In 2015, I signed into law a bill that again changed the net metering cap and transferred oversight of this complex issue to the PUC. The 2015 legislation received public support from the rooftop solar industry and many other interested parties. When I signed these bills, it was my belief that the utility rates should remain constant for homeowners who installed rooftop solar systems on their homes.
“The 2015 legislation was approved by a 41-1 vote in the Nevada Assembly and a unanimous vote in the Nevada Senate. I am aware that many of our state legislators share my concern about today’s decision and I am hopeful that the Legislative Committee on Energy as well as the New Energy Task Force will bring forward thoughtful recommendations to ensure that Nevada has a stable energy policy that allows renewable energy in Nevada to continue to thrive.”
And PUC just made all that moot. Solar panel installers are leaving the state and laying off thousands of workers, after being enticed to come to Nevada with taxpayer money.
The Las Vegas Sun online quoted a 7-year-old girl who testified before the PUC Friday about her father being laid off at SolarCity.
“I’m speaking for all kids and the future of solar. Solar is our future,”Marilynn Dudley said to the commission. “My dad and a lot of other people lost their job’s because of your decision. So please PUC, make the right decision today and bring back solar to Nevada.”
Tough luck, kid.
The Reno newspaper quoted PUC Commissioner David Noble as saying in his draft order, “It appears that some small-scale (rooftop) solar vendors advertised unrealistic payback periods. The commission will not reward the bad behavior of some small-scale (rooftop) solar vendors by requiring non-(solar) ratepayers to subsidize (solar) ratepayers for longer than is necessary.”
The paper reported that regulators said it is unfair for 98 percent of utility customers to bear costs for the 2 percent who have solar systems.
Just how do they do that? Never explained.
The Review-Journal quoted a solar company employee as saying, “It’s like playing poker and then changing the cards after the hand’s been dealt.”