On March 8th, the Arkansas Public Service Commission (Commission) ruled that existing net metering customers (NMC) will be grandfathered into the current net metering structure.

On behalf of our members, AAEA sought and received intervening party status in this pivotal net metering proceeding when the Commission opened two renewable energy-related dockets last year. AAEA strongly urged Commissioners to allow existing customers and those who have sought an agreement with their utility to be grandfathered into the current structure. The Commission’s ruling is good news for advanced energy companies looking for new market opportunities and for consumers and businesses looking for greater energy choice.

The Commission found that NMCs who have submitted a Standard Interconnection Agreement to the utility before the date of a new rate order will be grandfathered for a period of 20 years. The 20 years will be measured from the date of a new order under Phase 2, which is expected later this year and would establish a new net metering rate structure.

Grandfathering will be tied to the net metering facility (NMF), not the customer, thus allowing the customer to transfer the property and NMF to a new customer who will be eligible for grandfathering for the remainder of the twenty-year term.

The Commission believes due to the small number of existing NMCs, grandfathering should have minimal effect on other utility customers. The Commission finds that maintenance, repair and additions to an existing NMF does not trigger an event to switch to a new rate structure if the statutory definition of a NMF is followed, that is, offsetting part or all the NMC requirements for electricity.

Other key issues addressed in the Commission’s Docket 16-027-R/Phase 1 ruling:

  • The Commission decided that a lessee is not a net metering customer; however, it did rule that a NMF may have more than one owner.
  • The Commission did not adopt a generic size restriction on NMFs as the utilities requested. Several of the utilities wanted NMFs capped at 1 mw in size.
  • Lastly, the Commission finalized the revised Net Metering Rule.

As the Net Metering Working Group proceeding (“Phase 2”) continues, AAEA will continue to urge the equal treatment of costs and net benefits of renewable energy.

Read more in the Arkansas Business article, “In Win for Solar, PSC Allows Grandfathering for Net Metering Customers.”