Net-metering petition me with overwhelming opposition

Source: By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The critics included Republican governors, state utility regulators (including from red states like Texas, Georgia, and Kansas), 31 state attorneys general, conservative clean energy groups, and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers (including Republicans like Arizona’s Paul Gosar and Texas’ Louie Gohmert).

The petition — brought in April by the New England Ratepayers Association — found far fewer supporters, largely free market think tanks like the Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Ari Peskoe, director of Harvard’s Electricity Law Initiative, has a thorough run-down of many of the comments filed Monday in this tweet thread.

Why the petition matters: NERA is arguing that net-metering — which credits residential solar customers for the power they add to the grid — is subject to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s jurisdiction, instead of the states. Such a shift in regulatory oversight would undercut net-metering programs around the country, opponents of the petition argued in their comments.

Critics are also raising red flags about the group pushing the petition, which claims to be acting on behalf of New England ratepayers. Watchdog group Public Citizen, in its comments on the petition, suggested NERA functions more like a trade association advancing the interests of a few companies (potentially major utilities). Utilities were largely silent on the NERA petition, and their biggest trade group, the Electric Edison Institute, didn’t file comments.