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A Victory Protecting Solar

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The Idaho Public Utilities Commission Staff, Idaho Power and all intervening parties (including the Snake River Alliance) have agreed to a hearing schedule on Idaho Power’s requested changes to the net metering program. This agreement will be submitted to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for its review and approval. The agreed-upon schedule sets a technical hearing date in March, 2018, which means that no changes in the program can occur until at least April, 2018.  We believe the Commission will also schedule and hold a public hearing to allow anyone to provide their testimony on this issue and become part of the record of the case.

Idaho Power has petitioned the IPUC for permission to create a new class of customers, requesting a separation between homeowners who installed solar systems before December 31, 2017 and those that installed solar systems after that date. The agreed-upon schedule means that people installing rooftop solar in the Idaho Power service area don’t face a December 31 deadline.

This case is attracting a lot of attention as there are 11 intervening parties and hundreds of written comments already submitted — the vast majority of which oppose Idaho Power’s request.The Snake River Alliance joined with the Northwest Energy Coalition to intervene to protect individuals who generate electricity via solar, wind, or water from being forced into a different electric rate class. This rate class could penalize users/generators and reduce their rate of return.

We at the Snake River Alliance feel that Idaho Power does not have the interests of all its customers in mind with this filing. Nearly 1,000 people contacted us in the past 18 months of our Solarize the Valley program, looking to minimize their dependence on Idaho Power. Our local business partners, AltEnergy and Bluebird Solar and Light, are currently helping many of those citizens invest in solar. Idaho Power’s filing of its’ case had placed a cloud of uncertainty over the program and Idaho’s solar installation businesses.

The Alliance is represented in the case by Boise attorney John Hammond who works at the firm Fisher Pusch LLP. We will be submitting written and oral testimony from members and experts. The filings in this case can be viewed on the Commission’s webpage at http://www.puc.idaho.gov/fileroom/cases/summary/IPCE1713.html.

What You Can Do: We ask that you stand with us to defend usage of renewable energy in Idaho.  You can send your comments into the IPUC via postal service, making sure you use case number IPC-E-17-13 and address your comments to the IPUC Commissioners:

Paul Kjellander, Kristine Raper, and Eric Anderson

Idaho Public Utilities Commission
P O Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0074
FAX: (208) 334-3762

You can also use the Idaho PUC website by going to this link: http://www.puc.idaho.gov/forms/casecomment.aspx

Paste the case number # IPC-E-17-13 into the form and submit your comments.

Some sample talking points could include:

1) Support equal access to the electric grid for all customers, including those with solar or wind power
2) Idaho Power should add more options for customers to generate and use green energy, not restrict options.
3) Idaho Power should be fairly compensated for access to the grid by all customers, not just those installing solar
4) The public needs full information on the benefits of having distributed energy and more solar as well as the costs.

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