Public workshop June 16 to discuss proposed net billing changes

June 11, 2020

REXBURG — Rocky Mountain Power is supporting the desire of its customers for a sustainable environment for future generations, bringing more low-cost renewable energy to its customers in Idaho than ever before. In connection with a request filed last year with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the company is holding an informational workshop via teleconference on Tuesday, June 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. MDT. The access details are:

Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Time: 4-7 p.m.

Phone: (801) 220-5252 or toll free (855) 499-5252

Enter conference ID: 4275950

As detailed in its June 14, 2019 request, Rocky Mountain Power is proposing to close the company’s net metering program for Idaho customers (Schedule 135) to new applicants and open a new program for customers who choose to generate their own electricity while continuing to rely on Rocky Mountain Power’s network. The successor program would compensate customers for the excess energy they export to the system based on the market value comparable to other energy purchases.

Further, in recognition of the investment current net metering customers made in their systems, the company proposes that the commission approve a plan to keep existing customers on Schedule 135, Net Metering Service, for 10 years, before moving them to the new program structure on Schedule 136, Net Billing Service.

Rocky Mountain Power met with commission staff and the other parties to this case and agreed to a two-phase approach consisting of a study design phase and a study review phase, with opportunities for public input during both phases. The study design phase provides regulators, case interveners and the public the opportunity to comment on the scope and parameters of the study during the June 16 teleconference workshop.

After taking public comment, Rocky Mountain Power will incorporate feedback on its proposed study design and submit it to the commission, who will then establish the procedure and a schedule for the study review phase.

Rocky Mountain Power proposes to close its current Net Metering Program to new participants as of July 31, 2020. The company proposes that existing Net Metering customers remain on Schedule 135 until July 31, 2030, grandfathering existing customers to the terms of Schedule 135 for 10 years.

In testimony submitted with its application, Joelle Steward, vice president, Rocky Mountain Power, said the company’s analysis demonstrates that the current treatment of net metering customers unfairly shifts costs to non-net metering customers in Idaho.

“The present retail rate design collects 89 percent of the fixed costs to serve customers through the kilowatt-hour or energy charge, resulting in a net metering program that fails to cover the true costs of providing the service,” Steward testified. “These costs include maintaining and operating the electric network, billing and other customer service functions separate from the energy provided. As a result, those costs are shifted to other customers who have not chosen to generate their own power. Compensation at the retail rate for generation exported to the grid is significantly more expensive than other sources of power available for our customers.”

Further, Steward explained that the existing net metering program pays customers the full retail rate for power they generate and provide back onto the grid. Current energy policy has designed rates to create incentives for energy efficiency, so average retail energy charge—and the compensation for net metering customers—ranges from 14.94 cents per-kilowatt hour to 3.99 cents per kilowatt-hour. However, the actual value of the energy from customer onsite generation is only 2.48 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The company estimates the total compensation for customer-generated energy under the current Net Metering program is 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Under the proposed Net Billing program, the total compensation for generated energy for the typical residential customer generator would be 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Under the current program, a typical residential customer generator could have a simple payback on their system in about 9.6 years. Under the proposed program, the same system could have a simple payback period of about 14.4 years.

The company requested the commission establish Schedule 136 – Net Billing Program effective September 1, 2020. Under the proposal, customers who apply to interconnect an onsite generation system after July 31, 2020, take service under Schedule 136. The only difference between the current Schedule 135 and proposed Schedule 136 is that under Schedule 136, energy exported to the grid by a customer generator would be compensated at an export credit rate to be determined in the study review phase rather than the full retail rate that Schedule 135 customers receive today.

For more information please visit the Company’s website at: https://www.rockymountainpower.net/savingsenergy-choices/customer-generation.html

Information is also available at the Commission website at:

https://puc.idaho.gov/case/Details/3695