Both NV Energy utilities have filed proposals to allow grandfathering — at the retail net-metering rate — for net-metering customers who either installed an eligible DG system or received interconnection approval prior to December 31, 2015. Under the proposal, those customers would remain — for a 20-year period — on the net-metering rate available prior to the adoption of revisions made by S.B. 374 of 2015. According to Nevada Power’s and Sierra Pacific Power’s filings, this action would affect a total of approximately 32,000 solar customers.
However, the two utilities’ filings state that “action should be taken to protect Nevada consumers” from “unregulated private solar developers.” The filings also state that “the risk that unregulated … energy service providers and private solar developers will continue these practices in the future … must be reduced through the passage of legislation specific to private solar, energy services marketing and installation practices.”
The two utilities filed supplemental information (as requested by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada) clarifying that their proposal would allow customers to reactivate net-metering applications that were active on December 31, 2015, but subsequently withdrawn, expired or canceled. A total of 2,850 customers fall into these categories, but the number of expired applications “increases daily,” according to the filing.
In a highly contentious case that attracted national attention, the PUC issued decisions in late 2015 and early 2016 approving the transition of all net-metering customers — including existing net-metering customers — to a new rate structure over the next 12 years, in order to “eliminate unreasonable cost shifts between ratepayers without resulting in any additional profits to NV Energy.” The absence of a grandfathering provision for existing net-metering customers has spawned numerous lawsuits.
The revisions approved by the PUC for net-metering customers include:
- Creating separate ratepayer classes for all net-metering customers (including existing net-metering customers), to eliminate “subsidies.”
- Raising the fixed monthly customer charge and lowering the volumetric energy rate.
Compensating excess energy (i.e., exports) generated by net-metering customers at the utility’s avoided-cost rate.
- Creating optional TOU rate for NEM customers.
However, the PUC rejected the establishment of demand charges for residential and smaller commercial net-metering customers. Both NV Energy utilities had supported imposing a demand charge on net-metering customers.