To: Cox, Jon,
Subject: Net Metering Update
Date: Tue Nov 29 18:05:19 MST 2016
I have spoken with many of you about the recent Public Service Commission filing by Rocky Mountain Power. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns you might have about this important issue. A few key points:
· Today, the wholesale market price for solar power generation is approximately 3-4 cents per kWh thanks in part to large-scale solar farms like the ones we see throughout rural Utah. By comparison, Rocky Mountain Power is required to reimburse rooftop solar customers at nearly three times the market rate. This hasn’t always been the case. From 2002-2008, Utah net metering customers only received the market rate for their excess solar production.
· If a solar customer wants to use power in the evening (our peak demand) or on a cloudy day, it is reasonable to expect them to pay their fair share to maintain the grid. Our proposal to the Public Service Commission accomplishes that objective with a $9/month increased fixed charge coupled with a demand charge based on their use of the grid. Those who have a higher demand on the grid will pay more than those who don’t. The average increased cost under RMP’s proposal for new solar customers would be approximately $20/month. Customers with rooftop solar will still save money on their energy bills—about 35 percent compared to non-solar customers. And unlike other states, we are only proposing this change for new solar customers, not existing users.
· Other utilities in Utah have already adopted similar changes for their net metering customers. For example, Bountiful solar customers pay a fee for grid maintenance. Customers in St. George and Logan are simply paid the market rate for their excess solar production. Several Utah cities don’t pay anything for excess solar generation because they don’t need the extra electricity at a time of day when customer usage is low. Commercial solar customers in the RMP service area already use a rate structure very similar to our residential proposal. We continue to see new commercial net metering customers sign up at this rate, and we expect the same with our residential customers.
· We currently have one of the lowest electricity rates in the country, and as a company we want to keep it that way. Unfortunately, a significant cost will have to be paid by non-solar customers unless this grid maintenance inequity is resolved. Not acting now will inevitably result in increased power costs for all customers. This was the reason the 2014 Legislature passed S.B. 208, which directed the Public Service Commission to “determine a just and reasonable charge, credit, or ratemaking structure” for the net metering program.
· Rocky Mountain Power is supportive of an energy future that includes increased solar power. We currently purchase nearly eight times more solar power from Utah solar farms than we do from net-metering customers, much of that built in just the last few years. We expect both of those numbers to continue to rise in the years ahead.
I have pulled individual energy reports for many of you to show what this proposal would look like on different kinds of homes with varying sizes of solar installs. I am more than willing to do the same for any of you or your constituents. As always, don’t hesitate to call with questions or concerns. Additional information and a FAQ list can be found on our website, utahsolarworks.com/net-metering.
Vice President | Government Affairs
Rocky Mountain Power
Net Metering FAQ.PDF