Solar Power WorldNovember 15, 2019634
On Nov. 13, Idaho Power Company (IPC) filed a proposal to change the rules for existing rooftop solar power customers. This change would decrease the price Idaho Power pays rooftop solar-powered system owners for their excess energy by 50%, causing large increases to the monthly bills for the 4,000+ customers who have already adopted rooftop solar panels, and leaving an estimated 1,300 of those families and small businesses completely underwater on their investments.
“Idaho families deserve better from Idaho Power and the PUC,” said Ben Otto of the Idaho Conservation League. “Idahoans who chose to invest early in their energy freedom should not have the rules changed after the deal is done. Changing the math now is unfair and penalizes those who are leading Idaho into a clean energy future.”
In their comments, ICL and Vote Solar advocate for the PUC to protect existing Idaho Power residential and small business solar energy customers from new compensation rules that will replace net-metering next year.
“Utilities across the country are trying to stand between customers and clean, local, affordable solar energy,” said Briana Kobor of Vote Solar. “Maintaining fair pricing for existing customers is a commonsense compromise that allows both consumers and utilities to keep good-faith agreements.”
Net metering allows solar power customers to receive a credit on their bill for the excess electricity they send back to the grid. Today, that credit is the same as the rate all customers pay Idaho Power for electricity. However, under a recently filed settlement that value would decrease over time to a rate 50% lower than today.
The PUC has already received 300 public comments on the proposal. The comment period is open until Dec. 3. Refer to docket IPC-E-18-15. There will also be public hearings Dec. 2 and 3. Join by phone at 1-800-920-7487 passcode 6674832# on Monday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or in person starting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the PUC’s office, 11331 W. Chinden Blvd., Building 8, Suite 201-A, Boise, ID 83714.
Idaho Power Company serves over 560,000 customers in Idaho and Oregon. Its service territory stretches across the state from Ontario, ID to Blackfoot, ID, and includes major metropolitan areas, Boise, Twin Falls and Pocatello. The company has committed to providing 100% clean energy by 2045, but by ending net metering and potentially lowering rates for existing solar power customers Idaho Power is making it clear that it wants to be the only one that controls that affordable, reliable clean power.
Idaho’s solar power industry currently employs 557 people and has invested over $645 million in the state. Idaho ranks 21st in solar panel installations with over 488 megawatts installed, enough to provide solar power 64,443 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association.
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