Earlier this year, Idaho Power sealed its landmark commitment to 100% clean energy by announcing its investment in a large solar-generation project. Idaho’s largest utility celebrated clean energy resources like solar for their affordability, reliability, and environmental stewardship.

Despite the company’s promise to reach 100% clean energy, Idaho Power is now proposing to limit the ability of current and future customers to benefit from rooftop solar. 

Idaho Power will be taking these proposed changes to the Idaho Public Utility Commission on December 2nd and 3rd, and supporters of solar power need to make their voice heard. 

 

Background

Idaho Power offers a program for customers with solar known as “net metering.” In this program, net metering allows solar customers to receive a credit on their bill for the excess electricity they send back to the grid. This credit is currently priced at the same rate that all Idaho Power customers pay for electricity. It is a fair credit for the valuable investment in local clean energy that benefits us all. 

In 2017, Idaho Power filed a petition with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC), requesting permission to separate residential and small business net metering customers into different classes. The PUC granted permission for the new classes and directed Idaho Power to conduct a comprehensive study of the costs and benefits of net metering on Idaho Power’s system to determine a proper rate structure for excess energy generation. 

Now, Idaho Power has developed a new program for solar customers that provides a different, much lower value for the extra power a solar customer gives back to the grid. The proposed lower rate negatively impacts existing solar customers who invested in their systems to meet the rules of Idaho Power’s current net metering structure. Underneath the new proposed changes, solar customers’ rates would be cut in half over the next eight years. It’s not fair to force existing solar owners onto the new program that will reduce the value of their investment by 50%. Further, the comprehensive study to ensure that the proposed program is fair or balanced is nowhere in sight.

 

Take Action

If you care about solar, clean energy, and fair rules, it’s important that the PUC hears from you by December 3rd. Here’s how you can take action:

Write the PUC online at https://puc.idaho.gov/forms/casecomment.aspx. Use the case number IPC-E-18-15. 

Call the PUC on Monday, Dec. 2nd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by dialing 1-800-920-7487, passcode: 6674832#. 

Comment in person at the PUC hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 3rd at 7 p.m. 

Where: 11331 W. Chinden Blvd., Building 8, Suite 201-A, Boise, ID 83714.

 

Talking Points:

  • Customers deserve to see the full study before any changes are made to rates and programs. 
  • Idaho families and small businesses who worked with Idaho Power to invest in rooftop solar deserve fair net metering compensation and predictability from their utility.
  • Give a fair deal to existing customers who worked with Idaho Power to design their personal investments around their program.
  • If clean energy is good for Idaho Power, it’s good for Idaho families and businesses. Work with our communities to ensure everyone has a fair chance to benefit and build a clean energy future.
  • If the Idaho Public Utilities Commission approves a recent settlement on net metering, the value of credit that solar customers receive on their bill for the excess electricity they send back to the grid would decrease over time to a rate roughly 50% lower than it is today. This is unfair to existing solar customers who built their arrays based on the current net metering rates.
  • This proposal could cost over 4,000 Idaho families and businesses that have invested in rooftop solar thousands of extra dollars on their electricity bills.
  • Idaho families shouldn’t have the rules changed on them after they’ve made their investment.
  • Thousands of Idahoans have already made an investment in local clean energy expecting a fair deal. We hope Idaho Power keeps up its end of the bargain.
  • Allowing existing customers to stay on the current net metering program and applying the new program to new customers is a commonsense compromise that allows both utilities and customers to keep agreements made in good faith.