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Hearing on grandfathering in rooftop solar customers set for Sept. 19

CARSON CITY — A hearing on a proposal to grandfather in about 32,000 rooftop solar customers under prior, more economically favorable rates has been set for Sept. 19, with a final decision expected from state utility regulators by the following week.

Public Utilities Commission Chairman Paul Thomsen said that after the hearing, the full commission could consider a proposed resolution to the grandfathering issue at its Sept. 28 meeting.

Final approval could come even earlier if the various parties, including NV Energy, the state Bureau of Consumer Protection, PUC staff and the rooftop solar company SolarCity reach an agreement ahead of time.

At a prehearing conference Tuesday, Thomsen also reversed a previous decision to reject SolarCity’s request to intervene in the hearing process. While still disagreeing that the company had a direct and compelling interest in the grandfathering issue, Thomsen said he allowed the company to intervene in the hope that the issue can be resolved as quickly as possible.

NV Energy in late July made a filing with state utility regulators to grandfather residential net metering customers who installed systems or had approved applications pending by Dec. 31, 2015, in under the original rates. Net metering allows rooftop solar owners to get a credit from the utility for the excess energy they generate.

The proposal filed with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission would protect eligible rooftop solar customers for 20 years.

NV Energy, which does business as Nevada Power in Southern Nevada, asked the PUC to act within 90 days. Utility regulators previously rejected a proposal to grandfather in existing net metering customers under the rates that existed prior to Jan. 1 of this year.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Find @seanw801 on Twitter.

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