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Nevada panel OKs new rate structure for rooftop solar users

LAS VEGAS - The Nevada Public Utilities Commission is moving forward with a new rate structure for customers with rooftop solar panels.

PUCN voted 3-0 Tuesday to increase rates.  The plan will reduce the amount NV Energy pays customers for excess energy their solar panels produce, and change the flat service rate for customers with solar panels. The changes would phase in over five years.

Rooftop solar companies such as SolarCity have loudly opposed the changes, saying it would raise rates and make it hard for them to continue doing business in Nevada.

The commission wrote that the current rate structure shifts costs from solar customers to non-solar customers. Commissioners did side with solar companies in declining to approve a new "demand charge," saying it would confuse customers.

During its 2015 legislative session, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 374, directing the PUCN to examine the rates applicable to net metering customers. SB 374 set a Dec. 31 deadline for the PUCN to approve new rates, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

NV Energy must file new rates with the PUCN for final review within seven days of the effective date of the order.  The draft order proposes an annual incremental implementation of the new rates that will be fully implemented on Jan. 1, 2020.


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