Nevada regulators deny request to delay changes to net metering

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Battles over net metering in the United States are often contentious, however the conflict in Nevada is notable for both the severe and retroactive nature of the changes to the policy and the degree of national attention that it has received.

However, despite a protest that organizers estimated was attended by 1000 Nevada residents as well as celebrity speakers, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) has shown no sign that it will back down.

After hearing extensive arguments yesterday, PUCN voted 3-0 to deny a motion to delay implementation of the changes until appeals can be heard.

This is despite national scrutiny over the changes, which advocates and solar companies say will stop the state’s distributed solar market dead in its tracks. Wednesday’s protest featured Actor Mark Ruffalo and Tea Party activist Debbie Dooley, and Democratic Presidential Candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have also criticized the changes.

One reason for the national attention may be the retroactive changes to the policy. The changes to rates, additional charges and lower valuation for solar exported to the grid will be imposed not only on new customers, but also customers who installed solar PV under the previous rules.

Few states or nations have imposed such retroactive changes, which void the legal certainty of investments and open such policy moves to legal challenges.

A separate motion for reconsideration of the changes has been filed by multiple solar organizations, Nevada’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Attorney General’s office. However, the same PUCN which voted 3-0 to impose the changes and 3-0 against the delay in implementation will hear this appeal.

The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) has additionally filed a lawsuit against PUCN.