04/22/2020 - Ari Peskoe

‘Mysterious’ group pushes FERC to end net metering

Tag: E&E News

A Massachusetts-based nonprofit that took down a biomass subsidy in New Hampshire last year has set its sights on upending net metering nationwide. The New England Ratepayers Association filed a petition last week asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to effectively curtail net metering, a practice that requires utilities to pay rooftop solar owners for the extra electricity they generate and send to the grid. The petition calls on FERC to place the widespread practice under federal jurisdiction. The move away from state regulation could significantly cut the rates paid to rooftop solar owners and other on-site power generators. But the group says placing net metering under federal authority would lower electricity costs for ratepayers…Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at the Harvard Law School Environmental and Energy Law Program, immediately slammed the petition in a series of tweets. “This is a petition filed by this mysterious group calling themselves New England Ratepayers Association,” he told E&E News. “Nobody knows who funds them, and they cite no new case law. There is absolutely no reason to raise this issue now.” …While FERC has always considered energy procured by utilities through net metering a retail sale that falls under state authority, NERA argues that net-metering transactions constitute “sales for resale,” which it says should be treated as a wholesale power market transaction that falls under FERC jurisdiction. Peskoe dismissed this idea, noting that FERC only has jurisdiction over wholesale sales in interstate commerce. “An energy transfer effectuated through a state-regulated net-metering tariff is neither a wholesale sale nor a sale in interstate commerce,” he said.

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