Bill to update state energy policy clears Senate

net metering senate voteLegislation seeking to update Kentucky’s private net metering policy to ensure costs remain fair for all energy consumers in the state passed the Senate on Wednesday afternoon following passage by the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.

Current law requires utility companies to credit private net metering energy customers, such as those with rooftop solar, for electricity they generate at a rate that’s higher than utilities pay for other energy sources.

Senate Bill 100, sponsored by Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee Brandon Smith, would continue to require the utility to take excess power generated by private net metering customers but would ensure all customers pay their fair share of utility service by authorizing the Public Service Commission (PSC) to determine the value of excess electricity. The PSC regulates retail electric service throughout most of the state.

Sen. Brandon Smith said Senate Bill 100 is not a solar bill and is not a utility bill but rather a rate payer bill that ensures fair costs for all consumers.

Testimony was heard from both sides of the issue with solar producers and advocates discussing their concerns with the policy and the negative impact they feel if it were passed. The solar advocates said the policy would affect the livelihood of residential solar producers but acknowledged that Senate Bill 100 grandfathers in existing solar customers.

David Samford, a Lexington attorney, also testified on the bill stating the issue has become unnecessarily controversial and complex. Samford said net metering is a subsidy that was enacted to incentivize solar production but added the current net metering statute is unique because the credit paid to the net metering customers is greater than the value of the electricity they are putting on the grid.  This subsidy can’t be changed because the statute circumvents the PSC’s review of the value of the net metering customers’ generation.

Senate Bill 100 passed the full Senate with a 23-12 vote and now moves to the House to be heard in committee.

Categories: 2019 General Assembly, Energy & Environment

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