Wednesday, January 30, 2013

City of Boise: Idaho Power Plan to Expand Net Metering Has 'Negative Effect' On More Solar Users

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM

The City of Boise, joining the Idaho Conservation League, the Snake River Alliance and the Idaho Clean Energy Association, has filed a petition to intervene in an Idaho Power Company application that would change the way Idaho's largest utility treats its approximate 350 net metering customers.

Idaho Power has asked the the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to increase the upper limit of its capacity from 2.9 megawatts to 5.8 megawatts on the amount that can be generated from all net metering customers combined. Idaho Power claims it is currently near the 2.9 MW limit.

Net metering customers are paid the full retail energy rate for the power they generate. Idaho Power is also proposing to stop paying customers who generate more energy than they consume and instead issue them a credit against a future billing period.

The City of Boise says "it has a direct and substantial interest" due to solar panel installations at the city's Foothills Learning Center (which are net metered) and is "concerned about the negative effects the proposed change will have in encouraging more citizens to install and use solar panels, thereby reducing pollution and reducing the City's progress in achieving its sustainability goals."

City Attorney Stephen Rutherford, writing in the City's intervention, said, "The changes proposed in this matter could have a swift, deleterious effect on the solar installation industry, and render feckless home and business improvements made by city residents."

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