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Regulators vote to phase in solar rate hike

Posted at 2:49 PM, Feb 12, 2016

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has voted to phase in higher rates for rooftop solar customers over a longer period of time than previously approved.

Regulators voted 3-0 on Friday to implement the new rates over 12 years, rather than four years.

Commissioners approved new rates in December for customers who use net metering, or sell excess energy from their solar panels back to the utility.

Regulators say the rates better reflect the declining cost of solar power and phase out a subsidy traditional energy customers pay to support a much-smaller group of rooftop solar customers.

Solar customers say it means their panels will take years more to pay off. Solar companies have responded by laying off employees and staging large protests outside PUC meetings.

The Bring Back Solar Alliance released the following statement after the decision:

“We are disappointed by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s decision today. With their decision, the PUC has again betrayed the 17,000 Nevada customers who did the right thing and chose to go solar.

The PUC ignored the testimony of Alliance members, the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and even NV Energy that full twenty-year grandfathering was the only fair result for Nevada solar customers. The unelected PUC stood against the clear wishes of thousands of Nevadans and stood by the misguided decision that has hurt so many Nevada customers in December.

We are also disappointed that the PUC denied the motion for reconsideration of The Alliance for Solar Choice, the Bureau of Consumer Protection and other parties. The PUC has done nothing for the hundreds of thousands of Nevadans who want to choose where their energy comes from by choosing solar, or for the more than 1,000 Nevada solar workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the PUC’s December ruling.

We urge the Legislature to call a special session immediately to solve these problems that the PUC has created. The Legislature has the power to bring back solar for all Nevadans.

If state leadership will not act, the Bring Solar Back Alliance will ensure the people have the opportunity to speak in November. Our referendum will bring back thousands of jobs and keep solar affordable for everyone in the state. More than fifty five thousand Nevadans have already pledged to support our referendum this November—as many as are necessary to place the referendum on the general election ballot. We will continue to fight to bring back solar to Nevada, and in November, we will win."