The Idaho Public Utilities Commission issued a unanimous decision rejecting a proposed settlement agreement that would have ended Idaho Power’s popular net metering program and replaced it with a program that values customer-generated solar electricity lower than utility-supplied electricity.
The Commission decided that the evidence it had was insufficient to demonstrate that the proposed settlement was fair, just, reasonable and in the public interest, as well as finding that the public lacked adequate notice that significant changes to net metering would be made through the settlement agreement. Looking ahead, the Commission ordered the utility and PUC staff to initiate a public process to design a comprehensive study of the costs and benefits to the grid of customer-owned solar.
“Net metering is a fair credit for the valuable investment in local clean energy that benefits us all,” said Briana Kobor of Vote Solar. “A fair study of costs and benefits will confirm that local, homegrown solar energy provides real benefits and deserves fair compensation.”
In addition, the Commission ruled that Idaho Power’s 4,000+ families and small businesses who either already have solar, or who made binding commitments to install solar as of the date of today’s order will continue to benefit from the net metering program’s one-to-one kilowatt hour credit for electricity the customer sends to the grid. Future customers will be subject to the new program that results from the cost-benefit study.
“We applaud the Commission standing up for existing solar owners,” said Ben Otto of the Idaho Conservation League. “We look forward to working publicly with all stakeholders to finish the job of calculating all the benefits additional solar can bring to Idaho.”
“It’s an undeniable win for Idahoans when their Public Utility Commission calls for an open and transparent process to determine the true value of clean, renewable, solar generation owned by Idaho families,” said David Bender of Earthjustice, which represented Vote Solar in the proceeding.
This case drew over 1,000 public comments in writing and hundreds spoke at public hearings on December 2nd and 3rd that totaled 13 hours of testimony.
Idaho Power Company serves over 560,000 customers in Idaho and Oregon. Its service territory stretches across the state from Ontario, Idaho to Blackfoot, Idaho, and includes major metropolitan areas, Boise, Twin Falls and Pocatello.
News item from Vote Solar