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Ask FERC To Protect Net Metering

Update: VICTORY!

At a July 16th work session, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected the anti-renewables petition that would have ended net metering as we know it. Since the original filing in April, FERC received tens of thousands of comments opposing the petition, but only 22 in support. Among the opposition was hundreds of Montanans who raised their voice in support of renewable energy. Also opposing the petition was the Montana Energy Office and Attorney General Tim Fox. We are proud to see such support for renewable energy in Montana, and are thrilled at the decision by FERC to dismiss the anti-renewables petition. Onward!

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Net metering is under attack, and we need your help.

Rooftop solar array
Photo: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Net metering is a state policy that allows owners of rooftop solar, small wind, and other renewable energy systems to get bill credits for excess energy they generate and send to back to the grid. An anti-renewables group operating out of New England is trying to bring a swift end to that program.

The proposal from the "New England Ratepayers Association" would transfer the oversight and regulation of net metering programs from state public utility commissions into the hands of a federal agency. Under this new oversight, credits for net metering customers would be cut in half – or more. This proposal would end net metering as we know it. 

The group's proposal is a blatant attack on net metering and rooftop solar customers. What's worse, this opposition group is using the cover of the pandemic to try and force this national proposal through unnoticed. Here are just a few of its impacts:

  • State net metering programs would be dismantled, and handed over to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to recreate and manage
  • Net metering rates would be drastically reduced. For Montanans, this would be by more than 50%! This would cost Montanans thousands of dollars.
  • All of Montana's more than 3,000 current, legacy net metering customers would not be protected from the changes.

TAKE ACTION: Speak Up to Defend Net Metering

MREA has spent years successfully fighting to defend net metering at the Legislature and the Public Service Commission. Earlier this year, we asked Montanans to raise their voice to ask Governor Bullock and FERC to oppose this petition – and you did! Thank you to the hundreds of Montanans who submitted comments in support of net metering and rooftop solar! 

Over the past 20 years, net metering has helped fuel growth in Montana's renewable energy industry, driven support for small businesses, and allowed Montanans to lower their energy costs. The initial deadline for submitting comment to FERC was June 15th, but our work on this issue isn't over yet. We will be posting updates on how you can continue to help us protect net metering from this blatant attack. We'll be sharing more in the coming weeks. To get updates and stay engaged on this issue, be sure to join our mailing list.

What are people saying about the proposal?

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox“Net metering allows customers who generate their own clean electricity, such as through the use of rooftop solar panels, to lower their retail electricity bill by offsetting the amount of electricity they use with the amount they produce. If FERC approves this petition, it could deprive states of a vital clean energy program, financially harm millions of customers, and place thousands of jobs at risk."

Brandon Presley, the President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and Chair of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, had this to say about the petition on Twitter:
“The current petition before @FERC by the New England Ratepayers Assoc. is a direct assault on state regulators’ ability to do their job and protect the public interest. I will oppose this attempt to steal power away from states. State regulators won’t roll over and just go along.”

Ari Peskoe, Director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School:
"Utility-aligned group asks FERC to assert jurisdiction over sales from behind-the-meter resources when output exceeds demand or where energy is "designed to bypass" customer load... In other words, the group seeks to end net metering as we know it."

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