“Net Metering” helps keep rooftop solar affordable. Idaho has strong rules allowing customers to go solar without installing batteries or more expensive “off grid” systems. Net metering customers pay a minimum of $5 a month to stay on the grid. They receive full credit for the solar energy they generate for use when it is cloudy.
Idaho has protected net metering in the past. Three years ago, Idaho Power proposed to raise the rate for net metering customers to $25 per month. The Snake River Alliance and other groups intervened in the case. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission held hearings. After a huge public outcry, the proposal was turned down.
New proposal casts uncertainty. Idaho Power’s current proposal throws uncertainty on future net metering rates. A new customer class would be set up after January 2018. These “second-class” solar customers would pay higher fees or get fewer credits at some point in the future. In the meantime, all net metering customers will pay the current rate.
Net metering is not in jeopardy in Idaho. You have the right to self generate solar or wind energy and reduce reliance on Idaho Power’s grid. The Snake River Alliance, local solar companies and other public interest groups are working together to protect net metering. Public hearings are expected. The process will take several months and will probably result in more studies. Studies need to fairly show the benefits of solar power as well as the costs. It will be many more months (or maybe years) before actual rate changes are proposed.
Idaho Power has the right to charge a fair rate for access to the grid. If $5 per month is not enough, a full study is needed to determine the cost of servicing all customers. The company’s current proposal singles out solar customers while thousands of other customers also pay the monthly minimum. A “general rate case” process is the appropriate forum to establish a new rate class and new rates.
Make Your Voice Heard.
You can help save Idaho’s net metering program. Join the Snake River Alliance today, or make a donation towards our net metering legal defense fund. Send comments to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, IPUC Docket No. IPC-E-17-13.