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TBKY Bill Alert #4:

Please call toll-free 1-800-372-7181 today and leave a message: To the State House Natural Resources Chairman and Republicans on this specific committee: “House Bill 227 needs to die. This bill will kill the solar industry in Kentucky.”

If people want to live off the grid, give them the freedom to do so. I hope our legislators choose wisely. We are watching. It will create a monopoly. We need to give this industry a chance. This is not just about living off the grid. In Hawesville, KY and surrounding areas the electric bills are higher than mortgage/rent payments. We’re talking over $1,000 for some!

This is why we need solar energy! The monopolies are taking advantage of small communities and the already fragile economies of these towns will crash because people have no money left after paying for necessities! My parents are seriously considering switching to solar because their energy bills have been consistently high. People need more than one option.

To read or learn more please visit: http://www.takebackkentucky.com/2018/02/11/bill-alert-oppose-hb-227-the-energy-monopoly-bill/

HB 227- J. Gooch Jr., M. Castlen, L. Brown, S. Santoro

AN ACT relating to net metering.
Amend KRS 278.465 to redefine “net metering”; amend KRS 278.466 to set the rate of compensation for an eligible customer-generator for electricity produced that flows to the retail supplier to be equal to the most recently approved rate by the Public Service Commission for the retail electric supplier to purchase electricity on an as-available basis from qualifying facilities with design capacities of 100 kilowatts or less; allow the retail electric supplier discretion to either carry forward or pay out the customer for excess generation during a billing period; create an exemption for customer-generators taking net metering service on July 15, 2018, to allow those customers to keep their current net metering contract or tariff rate calculation until they cease to take net metering service at the eligible premises or July 15, 2043, whichever comes first; specify that the exemption does not apply to lessees, successors, assigns, or subsequent owners of eligible premises.

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8 Responses to “Bill Alert Oppose HB 227 The Energy Monopoly Bill”

  1. jason says:

    No offense, but I fail to see how a bill to reduce a subsidy paid to private solar developers will “kill the solar industry in Kentucky.” People who choose to go solar could still do so. It just means the rest of us don’t have to pay extra over time to finance them. Government mandates and subsidies for expensive renewable energy technologies aren’t the recipe for energy freedom.

  2. Clint says:

    It is the way the current bill is written. Now, there are multiple floor amendments to this current piece of legislation. Right now, we oppose this bill. If the House bill language improves dramatically we shall reconsider our position. Individuals who are able to create/produce more “energy” than they should be paid. Energy companies are benefiting from the corporate tax cut of 35% to 21%, is a very small a percentage of revenue.

  3. Jamie says:

    Jason, the only people being subsidized here are the utilities themselves and anyone who thinks otherwise is not educated on the issues. Lawrence Berkeley national labs has done numerous studies on how solar effects the grid and the reality is the utilities benefit from residential solar. This is a free market issue and the utilities are trying to maintain their monopolies.

  4. Robert says:

    Thanks for pointing this out. This is ridiculous. Our rates keep going up and this is why. We need free markets in our utility sector. More options not less.

  5. Fitz says:

    Thanks to TBK for the coverage on the net metering bill.

    As one who has represented, and does represent, without charge, low- and fixed-income Kentuckians for 34 years before the Public Service Commission on utility matters, I disagree with the baseless suggestion that such a subsidy is occurring.

    Under current law, the 1,000 or so customers among the state’s regulated electric utilities “net” the value of solar power they generate and that which they consume from the utility. Any excess is “credited” and can be applied to future bills.

    The question was asked during a Committee Hearing on House Bill 227, “Why should other customers pay for the difference between the utility avoided cost and the retail credit given to net metering customers?”

    They aren’t. The “avoided cost” argument is an “apples to oranges” comparison. Currently, a net metering customer gets a credit on their bill, not money, at the same rate at which they purchase power from the utility. The utility can then market that power to others, and at times, profit significantly from the “peak” power that they’re getting from the net metering customer at a blended average retail rate.

    Net metering customers never get “paid” for their excess solar generation – they earn kWh credits that can be used to offset their bills for future energy consumption. No other customer is “paying” for this transaction, just as no other customer has paid for the installation of those solar panels, or incurred any fuel costs for the solar electricity being fed into the system.

    As you know, the utility’s actual cost of electricity can vary throughout the day from near zero to a cost far above the rate charged to residential customers. Those variable costs are averaged into the retail rate. The reality is that solar systems often feed power to the grid during times of peak demand when the utility’s cost of energy is high, on sunny summer afternoons. The solar customer supplies high-value energy to the utility, and redeems their credits at night when the utility’s cost of generation is low. The optional Time-of-Use rates offered by Kentucky Utilities illustrates this. KU charges customers 27 cents/kWh at times of peak demand (1:00pm – 5:00pm, April to October) but only 6 cents/kWh at off-peak times. Net metering simplifies billing for that varying value of electricity in the same way typical residential energy charges do. And the net metering customer is feeding in excess generation often at peak times, when the actual value to the utility and other customers far exceeds the retail rate at which the net metering customers contribution of electricity is credited. There is other value that the net metering customer provides to the utility and other customers, and yet those benefits are ignored except when the utilities themselves seek PSC approval for the solar installations that they are charging all customers to build, in which case they argue that the benefits to all customers justify approval of their plans.

    The only possible economic effect of net metering on other customers would be if, in a future rate case, the utility sought a rate increase on other customers to meet revenue needs for serving net metering customers, because many utilities have part of their fixed costs embedded in their volumetric rates, and the net metering customer purchases less energy from the utility (just as customers who are more energy-efficient). A 2017 DOE study concluded that any such rate impacts are and will for the foreseeable future remain “negligible.”[1] To date, no Kentucky utility has argued that a rate increase is needed due to the presence of net-metering customers in their service territory.

    The bottom line is that other customers aren’t paying for or “subsidizing” net metering customers. If the General Assembly believes further investigation is needed, the responsible approach would be to direct the PSC to open an administrative case, making the utilities parties, and based on their unique rate structures and the value of the net-metered electricity to the utility and other customers, to determine if the “net cost of service” to the net-metering customers needs an adjustment in order to prevent cost-shifting or inequitable rates.

    Tom FitzGerald, Director
    Kentucky Resources Council

    [1] Barbose, Galen. “Putting the Potential Rate Impacts of Distributed Solar Into Context.” LBNL, US Department of Energy, January 2017, p. 29.

  6. Valerie Gentry says:

    This bill keeps the little man little and the big man (Corps) even bigger. AKA..abuse of power (pun intended).

    Valerie Gentry, Administrator
    “Concerned Kenergy Corp Customers”
    #BETHECHANGEINPOWER

  7. Mark Edwards says:

    I have been told the bill is back in committee now and may be discussed at the committee meeting planned for 3/1/2018 at 9:15am.

    Let your representative know who is leading the charge for this bill. Consumer Energy Alliance has been the lead voice for HB227 CEA is lead by staff from HBW Resources, a lobbying firm who serves energy providers in “Helping our clients achieve their goals,
    and then set new ones.” The “pro-consumer” Consumer Energy Alliance doesn’t even have an office in KY that I could find using Google Maps. They do have an address in Houston though. Check the website of each organization. Overlapping staff and identical address and phone number. 713-337-8810
    2211 Norfolk Street, #410
    Houston, TX 77098

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