In the latest affront to to net-metering, Indiana’s legislature has proposed SB 309, a bill that solar advocates argue would end net-metering in the state. Their ire is up after the bill passed out of the state’s utilities committee on a vote of 8 to 2. Moreover, they charge that state legislators, chief among them, bill author Sen. Brandt Herschman (R), are misrepresenting the legislation.
The bill was called a Trojan Horse of a bill by PV Magazine. In that sense it could be likened to other anti-rooftop solar legislation that claimed to support rooftop solar power while actually gutting it, like last year’s defeated Florida Amendment 1.
The bill would transition Indiana from a net-metering scheme to a “sell all, buy all” scheme. Under a net-metering scheme rooftop solar users are reimbursed for the electricity they put back on the grid at retail rates. They also are able to use the solar power they produce to help reduce their energy costs. Under a “sell all, buy all” system all of the power the rooftop produces is sold to the local utility at the wholesale rate. The homeowners also would buy all of their energy from the utility at the regular retail rate, essentially erasing incentives for going solar.
In a critical letter to Sen. Jim Merritt (R), chair of Indiana’s Senate Utilities Committee, the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance (IndianaDG) expressed and its members expressed concern over the legislation and a recent hearing over the legislation, which many weren’t able to attend. However, they were able to review it later.
“We know your committee members want to be as well informed as possible as they work to sort through SB 309, and that they also value their credibility with the public,” wrote Laura Ann Arnold, president of IndianaDG. “In that spirit, we implore you to reconvene the committee so this critical misinformation can be brought to light.”
“The owners of several Indiana solar companies and their customers are deeply troubled over what they believe are serious misrepresentations of Indiana’s current net metering rule during the discussion of SB 309 at the Senate Utilities Committee hearing Thursday, Feb. 16,” Arnold said. After reviewing video of the hearing, IndianaDG said its members heard Herschman make some statements about the state’s existing net metering rule that it stated “simply are not true.”
“In fact, some of his misstatements are so egregious we think they may have unfairly influenced Thursday’s committee vote. For this reason, we strongly urge the committee not to move forward on its report on SB 309 until these errors can be rectified,” Arnold said. “We also believe committee members should have a chance to change their vote after they receive the correct information.”
IndianaDG’s members called the following Herschman statement false. ”Currently, under existing net metering rules from the IURC, when any individual utility reaches the renewable part of their portfolio, that is people net metering, that is equal to 1 percent of their baseload generation, net metering goes away. Gone. No grandfathering, no guarantee, nothing except wholesale rates.”
The organization also charged that Hershman’s statement that if net metering caps are met the utilities transition to a "buy all, sell all" mechanism under the state’s existing law also is a false statement. “These inaccurate statements by Hershman already have gone viral on social media and may well cause Senate phone lines to further light up this week as a growing number of people learn of them,” Arnold said.Tweet