By John Christensen, Mountain View Solar
This week brought some good news as well as some bad news on the Net Metering protection front.
First the good news. HB 2001, the companion bill to SB 1, the first two bills introduced in the 2015 WV Legislative session, passed out of both bodies, clean and untouched except for the addition of the section on Net Metering as found in the AREPS law (that was 99% repealed), and was signed by the governor to be one of the first completed pieces of legislation.
We were hoping that would be the end of the story. Not so fast. There are still two Net Metering (as amended) bills out there to watch (SB 1 and HB 2201), negotiate, repair or kill.
The problems stem from word manipulation and changing definitions in the two remaining bills. These bills could make solar leasing opportunities all but disappear for West Virginia residents.
In West Virginia we have regulated monopolies for electrical service but now we see where the regulators (the PSC and the legislature) are being given a few bad amendments by the power companies. This means that the regulated (power companies) are writing the language in the laws that govern them.
The amended version of net metering, HB 2201, was on the agenda for senate judiciary on Thursday afternoon. The solar community was successful in getting the bill pulled off the agenda for Thursday and Friday and we had a meeting with many stakeholders including the PSC general council and the Judiciary Chair and staff lawyers, AEP and First Energy lobbyists.
We were able to discuss our differences with the chair and committee lawyers and have the PSC intercede as a referee. The committee chairman, Sen. Charles Trump (R-Morgan), did his best to try to get the parties to agree but in the end we left not knowing what the power companies would be “comfortable with.”
Things will continue to progress as the Legislature moves forward this week, and we’ll do our best to keep you in the know!
For more information on this bill and other bills related to net metering, you can contact John Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.