| Bill Tracker, Bills MEIC Oppose

HB 219, by Rep. Zach Brown (D-Bozeman), would require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to set minimum standards for conducting a cost-benefit analysis of net metering. NorthWestern Energy would then complete the study before a specified date: April 1, 2018. The PSC would use the utility’s results to determine any changes to be made to the net metering program as part of the next general electric rate case.

MEIC opposes this bill because April 1, 2018 is an arbitrary and premature date for conducting this critically important study, potentially leading to untrustworthy results. Utility experts advise this study take place when at least 1.0% of a utility’s energy needs are met by net metering. This threshold ensures enough net metering systems are on the grid (i.e. enough data points) to produce accurate, reliable, and valid data collection and analysis when conducting a cost-benefit study. Currently, net metering contributes to about 0.07% of NorthWestern’s energy needs.

A 1.0% threshold would also be in line with actions other states have taken when setting review triggers for net metering. This allowed the solar industry to grow in those states while also providing certainty to legislators, utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders.

The original form of HB 219 would have set 1% of NorthWestern’s electricity sales being met by net metered systems as the trigger for a study. This would be a more appropriate timeline, ensuring more trustworthy results on a timeline that provides certainty for all stakeholders.

 

 

3 Responses to " Premature Action on Net Metering "

  1. […] HB 219 (Rep. Zach Brown, D-Bozeman) would require NorthWestern Energy to prematurely conduct a cost-benefit study of net metering by April 2018. The Public Service Commission would use the results to make changes to the net metering program. Utility experts say a cost-benefit study should be done when at least 1.0% of a utility’s energy needs are met by net metering. Currently, net metering contributes to about 0.07% of NorthWestern’s energy needs. A premature analysis will lead to unreliable results. It is concerning that NorthWestern, a monopoly utility that is aggressively hostile toward net metering will conduct the study. HB 219 will be heard by the Senate Energy Committee in the next few weeks. Contact committee members and ask them to vote no. […]

  2. John Galt says:

    NorthWestern has their head in the sand on Net Metering. The 100+ year model of using a kwh, billing a kwh is old school thinking in the new world of distributed energy resources. I understand they need to be compensated for the value of their electric infrastructure. I also believe that energy delivered back to the system should be compensated at the utility avoided cost rather than retail rates. I don’t believe other customers should subsidize Net Metering customers. I also believe that Net Metering customers need to be billed differently than regular customers.
    Northwestern, wake up and smell the roses, the world is changing around you!

  3. […] HB 219 (Rep. Zach Brown, D–Bozeman) requires the PSC to specify the parameters for a cost-benefit study of net metering which NWE will then conduct. The results of the study will be used to inform any changes to the net metering program during NWE’s next general electricity rate case. MEIC will participate thoroughly in this process, making sure the ultimate results are valid and useful. […]

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