Regulators Phase In Rate Hikes For NV Solar Customers

Feb 12, 2016

Credit ELLIOTT BROWN, HTTPS://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/2.0/

  The Nevada Public Utilities Commission will grandfather rooftop solar customers from higher rates after public outcry. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

Commissioners voted to phase in higher electricity costs over the course of 12 years, still less time than what solar advocates had wanted.

Those rate hikes were approved back in December, touching off a firestorm among net-metering customers who say the state has reneged on its promise to encourage renewable energy.

Regulators say the new rates are necessary to prevent NV Energy customers from what they say is subsidizing the state’s 17,000 solar users. 

Since that decision, solar companies have laid off hundreds of workers and customers have given hours of emotional testimony at public regulatory meetings, including on Friday.

The PUC says the timeframe for grandfathering is fair, but Cynthia Ryan of Reno, who spent $40,000 to put panels on her roof, says it doesn't go far enough.

“We need to keep going, we need to keep stirring this pot and make sure that Nevada is in a leadership position for once rather than scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval also expressed disappointment with the decision, saying it does not protect solar customer's interests.

The governor has formed a new energy task force and says he wants to continue pushing for renewable energy in the state possibly through legislative action.