SB 078 - Attack on Net Metering Rates

Sen. Keith Regier, (R-Kalispell), SD 3

SB 78 attacks solar energy development in Montana by mandating changes to rules that are currently set by the experts at the Public Service Commission (PSC), including:
  • Mandating net metering credits be valued at avoided cost. “Avoided cost” is a specific ratemaking method that was designed for use with large, centralized power plants that remain in one location on the grid. In contrast, distributed energy resources like net metered rooftop solar systems are distributed in thousands of places around the grid. In particular, there is value created for the grid – and all ratepayers – by this locational distribution that “avoided cost” does not capture, making it an inappropriate method for calculating net metering rates.
  • Mandating a new rate class for net metering utility customers. Creating a new rate class is uncommon and determining whether one should be created is a highly technical decision. This decision is best left to experts at the Public Service Commission.

This bill also discriminates against net metering customers by double charging them for utility infrastructure. The bill would add a new, separate fee on net metering customers aimed at covering utility infrastructure costs, but these customers already pay for this cost in the rates paid for energy purchased from the utility. Net metering customers would be paying twice for infrastructure.


MEIC's Position: Oppose | Current bill status: Tabled in House Energy Committee. (Passed Senate 30-19.) | Official legislative site

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