Thursday, August 22, 2013

PSC Commissioner Skrmetta Takes Steps To Protect Consumers Caught In Solar Power Gap

Several weeks back, WWL-TV exposed a loophole that several utility companies were using to stop homeowners who installed solar panels from receiving “net meters”. 

Net metering allows consumers using solar panels to use the energy provided by the panels when it is needed and not just when the energy is generated. Essentially, net meters bank your energy credits during the day when the sun is shining so you can use them at night when your panels are not generating power. Net meters make solar panel purchases more attractive.

In 2011, the PSC issued a ruling that said that utilities could stop issuing net meters when 0.5% of their peak electricity load went to solar power customers.

At Wednesday's meeting, PSC Commissioner Eric Skrmetta stepped up with a plan to “grandfather” consumers who have already purchased solar panels or those waiting on the installation of solar panels and make them exempt from the utilities claims.

The plan will also make utilities provide better information to solar companies and their customers about net metering

“This is about notice and it's about accepting people in the gap and that this directive is effective immediately, today,” Skrmetta said.