BOISE — The Idaho Conservation League and Vote Solar are advocating for the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to protect existing Idaho Power Company residential and small business solar customers when new compensation rules replace net-metering next year. Idaho families and small businesses have made a significant investment in local clean energy. If they are not protected, they may see the value of their investment drastically reduced.
“Idaho families that chose to invest in their energy freedom should not have the rules changed midway through the game by Idaho Power and the Public Utilities Commission,” said Ben Otto of the Idaho Conservation League. “Early adopters made a careful calculation about the costs and benefits of going solar. Changing the math after the deal is done is unfair to Idahoans leading the clean energy revolution by example.”
Net metering allows solar 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.
ICL, Vote Solar and other interested parties will file their comments on November 13, 2019 ahead of the public hearings scheduled for December 2 and 3, one by phone and one in Boise. The PUC will accept written public comment on the proposal until December 3. Refer to docket IPC-E-18-15.
“Utilities across the country are trying to stand between customers and clean, local, affordable solar energy,” said Briana Kobor of Vote Solar. “Legacy protection is a commonsense compromise that allows both consumers and utilities to keep good-faith agreements.”
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 lowering rates for existing solar 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 industry currently employs 557 people and has invested over $645 million in the state. Idaho ranks 21st in installed solar with over 488 megawatts installed, enough to power 64,443 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association.
ICL protects Idaho’s air quality and climate stability by working to eliminate Idaho’s reliance on fossil fuels for electricity. ICL engages with Idaho utilities, regulators, and customers to create policies that encourage developing Idaho’s own clean energy sources. Unlike out-of-state fossil fuels, solar, wind and geothermal power is produced right here in Idaho and puts electricians, home builders and other local companies to work. IdahoConservation.org
Vote Solar’s mission is to make solar a mainstream energy resource across the U.S. Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Vote Solar works to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale. VoteSolar.org