Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has joined a multi-state coalition in opposing a proposed end to the way states operate net metering programs.
State net metering programs allow ratepayers with solar panels on their property to send unused power generated from the panels (often during the workday) back into the grid. Utilities then give them a credit on their electric bill for the contribution to the grid. In the absence of home energy storage, that energy would otherwise not be utilized. With net metering, panel owners can reduce their reliance on the grid and accumulate credits that may even make their “net” monthly bill negative. Many states require that utilities offer these programs.
In April, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to include ratepayer generation of solar power as wholesale generation and make it subject to FERC regulation. FERC has recently made several controversial decisions, including the decision to change the way PJM treats renewables.
Yesterday, Frosh and a coalition of state attorneys general and state utility regulators called upon FERC to reject NERA’s petition that legal experts called an “end net metering as we know it.” The coalition contends that net metering is essential to encouraging rooftop solar deployment, helping jurisdictions reach their climate change goals.
From the press release:
“NERA’s petition is cloaked in pro-consumer rhetoric, but is designed to undermine the market for rooftop solar,” said Attorney General Frosh. “States like Maryland operate net metering programs to ensure that retail customers are properly compensated for their investment in rooftop solar. Upending the status quo, which has been fundamental to the buildout of solar resources across the country, would unnecessarily jeopardize the continued development of these environmentally important resources.”