Along with the a number of price hikes it’s requesting, Mon Energy (and sister firm Potomac Edison) are additionally asking for the Public Service Fee to approve changes to net-metering in order that new prospects who generate their very own energy obtain lower than the 1-to-1 credit score that present prospects are getting. (Since photo voltaic accounts for 99.6% of producing capability, vs. 0.04% for wind, we’ll deal with photo voltaic.)
In certainly one of two filings to the PSC addressing the change, Mon Energy mentioned it wished “to regulate the quantity the shopper can be credited for kWh [kilowatt hours] produced in a given month, or extra kWh credited in opposition to a future month” to match the wholesale value of electrical energy. Proper now, Mon Energy’s residential base price for electrical energy is 11.4 cents per kWh (more likely to bounce to 13 cents after different enhance requests). The wholesale value for electrical energy, which is what energy is offered for on the bigger market, is calculated at 6.6 cents within the PSC submitting — nearly 5-7 cents lower than the present credit score.
Mon Energy insists that is mandatory so “different prospects will not be subsidizing web metering prospects and so [they] really pay for the distribution, transmission and capability amenities that they use and prices which can be incurred for them.”
Nonetheless, Mon Energy hasn’t satisfactorily confirmed that non-solar prospects are, in reality, subsidizing photo voltaic prospects. It fails to provide a value for the “distribution, transmission and capability amenities” for which photo voltaic prospects supposedly don’t pay.
Nonetheless, customer-generated photo voltaic supplies a number of advantages. As West Virginians for Vitality Freedom’s Leah Barbor factors out, photo voltaic prospects use the shared energy grid much less regularly, so that they contribute much less to put on and tear. Buyer-generated photo voltaic also can provide cheaper energy at occasions when the grid could also be overwhelmed by excessive demand or pure disasters.
We additionally agree with the a number of complaints that lowering net-metering will negatively impression the unfold of photo voltaic power. The enchantment of photo voltaic is it permits for elevated power independence — and that photo voltaic panels ultimately pay for themselves by decreasing your electrical invoice. A lesser credit score received’t essentially imply solar-generating prospects get the next invoice for utilizing Mon Energy’s electrical energy, nevertheless it undoubtedly means they received’t garner as a lot financial savings from the facility they do produce, so the panels don’t “pay for themselves” as rapidly. Because the credit score adjustment solely targets newer prospects, it might dissuade individuals who had been all in favour of producing solar energy.
We might additionally like to notice that there was widespread pushback to Mon Energy’s different price enhance requests — ones that impression all prospects. There are, nevertheless, far fewer net-metering prospects. Within the easy phrases of numbers, there are fewer individuals to oppose this particular request, maybe making it simpler to get approval from the PSC.
If the request is authorised, would non-solar prospects see smaller payments as photo voltaic mills cowl their “fair proportion”? Or will Mon Energy gather the distinction as earnings?
With out extra articulate reasoning or the numbers to help Mon Energy’s claims, the photo voltaic credit score ought to stay unchanged.