Target: Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, Chairman Paul A. Thomsen
Goal: Protest decision to make solar power systems more costly.
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) recently voted to change the rate class for solar energy customers in Nevada, which will increase their electricity bills. This is despite a report they issued revealing that solar panel owners actually give back more to the grid than they cost. The move will be detrimental to solar energy development in the area and around the country, as well as jeopardizing jobs in the industry.
The utility doesn’t pay for the solar panels’ installation or maintenance, and transmission costs are low because the energy generated is used nearby. However, part of the plan is to reduce the amount credited to solar producers for excess energy, from retail price to wholesale. The plan will be implemented for new and existing customers alike, which has angered plenty of customers who already have panels installed, and will be limited to residential and small commercial customers.
The commissioners who voted unanimously on the hike allegedly have ties to Warren Buffet’s NV Energy, who have battled to keep a cap on net metering, or the amount of excess energy customers can receive credit for. NV Energy are also direct competitors to the other solar energy suppliers in the region, such as SolarCity.
The market for solar in Nevada was the third largest in the U.S. last year, but due to the rate hike it could share the fate of the Arizona solar market, which was seriously adversely affected by a similar rate increase in 2013. Condemn this rate hike for creating a disincentive to use solar energy as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
Dear Chairman Thomsen,
The decision to vote for a rate hike for solar customers will damage the development of solar energy in the region, as well as jeopardizing jobs in the industry. Nevada is an ideal location for the implementation of solar as a viable alternative to non-sustainable energy, and many people in the area have already committed to it. In fact, a report from your commission has claimed that solar customers are contributing more to the grid than they are costing it.
Solar panels installed on residential and commercial properties have cut down on the need for harmful forms of energy production, as well as providing a boost to the economy in the form of job creation, and lower bills for consumers, affording them greater spending power elsewhere. Many believe that it is unfair that NV Energy should profit from the protections that this vote will give them, as it will adversely affect the solar market in Nevada while allowing them to continue to monopolize the utilities market.
I urge you to reconsider the decision to punish advocates and users of solar energy by increasing their electricity bills with this rate reclassification.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Nadine Y. Barclay