House Bill 227 narrowly passed out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee last week. A Senate Committee Substitute was adopted that made some very modest improvements to the bill, but it remains a bad bill that would stop energy choice in Kentucky and give utilities a means to stifle competition. What are the major problems with the bill?
1) The use of the phrase "dollar value" & "compensate" throughout.
Net metering needs to be a credit for electricity generated against electricity consumed. Assigning a $ value to electricity generated in this way sets up a "forced sale forced purchase" regime that could have income tax consequences and is anti-property rights. A forced sale forced purchase creates a situation where customers, for billing purposes, are treated like mini-power plants. The energy they produce looks as if it is purchased by the utility, no matter if it is used at home, and all of the solar customer's power is purchased from the utility. This could lead to a situation where customers would pay a premium for energy they produce and use at their own home depending on the value of net metering.
2) The "no further obligation" aka "hard cap of 1%"
This is anti-free market. Moving towards a hard cap undermines the commission process after 1% is hit. Net metering will be gone once it hits and there's no discretion for the commission to bring it back. "No further obligation" + "any subsequent time" = net metering is dead.
3) Section 5 on page 3 - Allows a utility to put in a discriminatory charge against solar customers
This is a utility overreach that doesn't exist anywhere in the country for any regulated utility. The section rigs the ratemaking process to effectively require a commission to allow the utility to impose demand charges and fixed fees. "Without regard for the rate structure for customers who are not eligible customer generators" is intended to allow the utility/commission to create a separate customer class for solar customers that paves the way for utilities to punish solar customers through discriminatory charges.
The vote count for the Senate floor is extremely close. Call the Legislative Message line at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for your state Senator telling them you oppose HB 227. Calls need to be placed early today, regardless if you've called before. If you don't know who your legislator is go to
www.lrc.ky.gov. Call Greg Brotzge at 502-819-6780, or Janet Pike at 859-223-8201, if you have questions or need further assistance and, if you receive any feedback from anyone you have contacted, please let us know ASAP.