SolarCity Response to Decision by Public Utilities Commissioner to deny SolarCity the Ability to Intervene in Proceedings on the Grandfathering of Stranded Nevada Solar Customers
recently, a Nevada Public Utilities Commissioner excluded SolarCity from participating in a case which will decide the economic fate of over 20,000 existing residential rooftop solar customers in Nevada. Expressing disappointment over the ruling, former Consumer Advocate for the State of Nevada and current SolarCity Chief Policy Officer Jon Wellinghoff said, “The Presiding Officer has excluded the one party that the people of Nevada actually chose of their own volition, their solar provider. It makes no sense to exclude these Nevada ratepayers from the table given SolarCity has been fighting for the grandfathering of these solar customers from day one.”
This unprecedented procedural action deprives thousands of Nevada solar customers and their chosen energy provider from having a voice in determining fair and just policies for all existing rooftop solar consumers in Nevada. SolarCity has advocated the grandfathering of solar customers since day one. On Christmas Eve, 2015, the day after the PUC issued an order to impose fees on solar customers that made their systems uneconomic, SolarCity joined with other solar companies and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection to ask the Commission to delay implementing the new rates on solar customers. The Public Utilities Commission denied that request.
On January 8, 2016, with an alliance of solar companies and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, SolarCity asked the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider their decision, emphasizing the need to grandfather existing customers. On February 17, the Public Utilities Commission denied the petitions. While SolarCity and other solar advocates appealed as soon as legally possible in support of grandfathering, NV Energy waited five months – 161 days – to issue their Advice Letter.
During those 161 days that NV Energy stood by, their customers had no choice but to pay NV Energy higher bills, as the utility collected on those increased fixed charges for existing solar customers that their tardily filed Advice Letter would reverse.The utility’s delay gives credence to the cynical notion of some that this proceeding is meant to rehabilitate NV Energy’s waning public image, rather than support what’s in the best interest of Nevada’s solar consumers and other ratepayers.
SolarCity fully expects Nevada solar customers to be grandfathered. We thank the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection for supporting our right to participate in this proceeding. We fully support the immediate grandfathering of all existing rooftop solar customers in Nevada, and all who applied to install solar on or before December 31, 2015. Those customers should have been given relief in February when the Commission issued its denial of our petition for rehearing. They deserve relief immediately, without further delay by the Commission or NV Energy. We continue to believe that all Nevadans should have the choice to affordably go solar. We will continue to advocate for grandfathering existing solar customers, and for fair and equitable rates for those who wish to go solar in the future.