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January 19, 2019

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NV Energy: Let existing solar customers keep old rate for 20 years

NV Energy Building Exterior

Steve Marcus

Exterior view of the NV Energy building Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Las Vegas.

After NV Energy was accused of waffling on a plan to shield thousands of rooftop solar customers from a rate increase, it has clarified its position.

In a filing today with the Public Utilities Commission, NV Energy said it supports a plan allowing about 27,000 existing solar customers to pay the old rate for 20 years.

It’s the same stance the company announced in a news release last month but was questioned when NV Energy later filed paperwork with the PUC that included options leaving current solar customers open to the new, higher rates that took effect this year.

In today’s filing, Shawn Elicegui, a senior vice president for regulation and planning at NV Energy, said for any grandfathering plan to be accepted, it “needs not only to be fair, but, equally important, broadly perceived and accepted as fair.”

The development comes as the PUC prepares to hear arguments Monday about grandfathering existing rooftop solar users.

At issue is a controversial decision by the PUC to increase bills for all solar customers. The decision raised a fixed service charge for solar customers and slashed the value of credits customers earn for generating excess electricity under a program known as net metering. The new rates will be phased in over four years.

NV Energy initially avoided taking a formal position on the grandfathering issue, instead giving the commission seven options, some perceived to be in direct contradiction with the 20-year deferral it floated in its news release.

Five options suggested expanding the transition period. The other two recommended letting existing solar customers keep the old rate for 10 or 20 years.

Under a 20-year deferral, about 27,000 customers would be eligible to keep the old rate. The number represents customers who connected solar panels or applied to connect their panels before Sept. 10.

Some parties would like to see more customers grandfathered, and that is likely to be a point of debate when the PUC considers arguments Monday.

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