Nevada creates separate rate class and adds new charges for solar owners

Today, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) approved new rules for the state’s largest utility, which order it to significantly alter rates for customers who participate in net metering.

In a 3-0 vote, PUCN ordered NV Energy to create a separate rate class for residential and small commercial customers, to increase basic service charges and to cut compensation levels for excess generation from retail rate to wholesale. According to Vote Solar Initiative, excess generation will be calculated on an hourly basis.

Exact numbers were not provided for the increase in the basic service charge or the new rates. NV Energy has seven days to file new rates, which are to work incrementally towards full implementation in 2020.

The new rates and increase in charges will apply to all customers participating in net metering, regardless of when they were approved or installed their systems.

“Today’s decision falls short of serving the best interests of Nevada energy consumers,” said Vote Solar Regional Director Jessica Scott. “The PUCN just changed the rules of the game for all Nevadans that have invested in rooftop solar.”

Sunrun is already suing Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval for failing to comply with a public records request related to NV Energy’s political influence in his office.

“We believe the Commission’s decision flies in the face of Nevada law, which requires the state to ‘encourage private investment in renewable energy resources, stimulate the economic growth of this State; and enhance the continued diversification of the energy resources used in this State’ through net metering,” said Sunrun Senior VP of Public Policy and Power Markets Bryan Miller in an online statement.

“We believe the Commission, appointed by Governor Sandoval, has done the exact opposite today.”

Miller also serves as president of the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), which plans to sue PUCN over the new ruling. In a similar case against Wisconsin regulators TASC managed to overturn a demand charge, and Miller says that he expects victory in this case as well.