Customers and friends,
Undoubtedly, many of you have recently received a letter from Idaho Power talking about proposed changes to the way they treat customers with solar. This letter has produced quite a stir among our customers, so I wanted to send out a note setting the record straight and explaining what is currently happening. In addition, I'm hoping this note will encourage you to get involved in making your voices heard to ensure individuals like yourself with a legal and enforceable net-metering agreements with Idaho Power remain on your agreed to rate plan.
One thing to keep in mind when reviewing this letter from Idaho Power is the fact that not one of these stated changes has been approved. The changes highlighted in this letter are requests by Idaho Power and a handful of officials and local groups to the IDAHO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION to rule on. Reading the case details (Case No. IPC-E-18-15 if you're interested in Googling it) there are two separate asks by Idaho Power. The first is for the bullet points they included in their letter to their customers to be approved. The second is for the IPUC to rule on whether these changes can be retroactively applied to existing solar customers. The first ask will be much easier to get approved than the second.
If we look at the utility companies in the states surrounding Idaho that have tried this exact same solar switch, not ONE has succeeded in forcing existing solar customers to change to their new laws. Each State Commission has granted a grandfathering period for both existing customers and customers in the process of getting installed. Here are some links below highlighting this in other states.
Rocky Mountain in Utah was required to grandfather existing solar customers as well as give solar customers mid-install an additional 6 months in order to submit for net metering under the original law.
An very similar approach that mimics what is going on in Idaho was tried by APS in Arizona. Rate hikes and rate changes. However, all solar customers and new customers through August 31st were voted to be grandfathered and continue to pay their agreed upon rates.
The same approach was used in Nevada by NV Energy. Below is an article talking about how grandfathering was approved for both existing as well as an additional 3 month time-frame for those mid-install to get grandfathered.
Although each of these instances help add to my overall comfort level in the inevitability of grandfathering existing solar customers in Idaho, I do not want to make the mistake that the decision to grandfather is a forgone conclusion. This is where I would ask for your help in making your voices heard and ensuring rates and current metering rules stay the same for existing solar customers.
The below timeline has been released for input from the public.
There are three separate ways to get involved. The first is to click on the below link. This will take you to the Case Comment page for the Public Utilities Commission. In the first line when asked for the Case Number, enter IPC-E-18-15. Once you've entered your personal information, please share with the Commission your feelings about how you made an investment in solar under the rules at the time and expect those rules to remain in place. Please keep things professional, but forceful.
The second way to get involved is to attend a telephonic public hearing being held on Monday, December 2nd from 10am until 4pm MST. The phone number is 800-920-7487 and the passcode is 6674832#. The last way to get involved is to attend an in-person public hearing on the proposed settlement on Tuesday, December 3rd at 7pm MST. This will be held at the Commission's office at 11331 W. Chinden Blvd. Building 8, Suite 201-A in Boise, ID 83714.
I hope this note has been able to remove many of your fears and questions surrounding your solar system and future production credits. We will continue to keep you updated as things progress. Thanks in advance for all efforts you put forth on behalf of your solar neighbors.