The Utah Public Service Commission has suspended Rocky Mountain Power's net metering proposal on the same day as the deadline for solar rooftop applications to be submitted in order to be grandfathered under the lower rate.
According to an Order on the Public Service Commission website, PacifiCorp, the owner of Rocky Mountain Power, filed a letter with the Commission on December 9, 2016, in which it "recommends the Commission exercise its statutory prerogative to suspend the [Tariff Changes] ... while interested stakeholders continue to seek mutually acceptable resolutions." The Order goes on to say, “Because this recommendation is not inconsistent with the comments and replies we have received from others in this docket, we accept PacifiCorp's recommendation and suspend the Tariff Changes.”
PacifiCorp further notes in the December 9, 2016 letter that it "will notify the Commission if a stipulation is reached or if the attempt to resolve this matter becomes unfruitful." The Public Service Commission says it will await that notification before holding further proceedings.
According to Mountain Town Community Solar, a nonprofit organization, "This proposal was confusing to the public and created needless disruptions in the solar market. It is of the utmost importance that the Commission create a pathway for a fair and thorough examination of the costs and benefits of net metering, and today's decision is a step in that direction. Although we are pleased the Commission has suspended the proposal, it is still unclear what this will mean for customers who enroll in net metering after December 9."
Paul Murphy, spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, “We’re continuing to try to seek a rate that’s fair to Utah solar customers without harming our other customers who don’t have solar panels. This is a complicated and important issue to be resolved and we’re relying on the PSC to make the best decision possible after they have all the facts or information they need.”
According to Murphy, rooftop solar applications have doubled every year for the past 5 years in Utah. Last year there were nearly 7,000 rooftop applications. This year Rocky Mountain Power had projected 17,000. In November of this year, there were 2200 applications. And Murphy says as of 5pm December 9th, there had been 2300 applications in the first 9 days of December alone. December 9th was the last day a homeowner could apply for rooftop solar panels and not be subject to the new, higher tariff.
Click here to see the order from the Public Service Commission