FERC’s Rejection of the NERA Petition is a Big Win for Clean Energy

       Last week, the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a petition put forth by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) that would have effectively taken away net metering control from states and local jurisdictions.  The petition specifically called for FERC, instead of the states, to have jurisdiction over net metering on locally-sited generators (like solar).  Local net metering jurisdiction is an essential component of state clean energy goals.

       NERA, a 501 (c )(4) organization oddly tight-lipped on its financial backers, said the reasoning behind the petition was to ‘even the playing field’ claiming that distributed generators are “unfairly overcompensated at the expense of all other electricity consumers.” 

       Solar advocates, state regulators, conservative groups, citizens and elected officials pushed back against the proposal that would’ve left the continued robust future of solar development in doubt.  According to Vote Solar, the overwhelming support in fighting the NERA petition included:

  • 56,605 letters from individual solar supporters from all 50 states
  • 74 Governors/ Attorneys General/ state officials
  • 30 Public Utility Commissions
  • 9 associations of state regulators/ public electricity providers  
  • 35 Members of Congress

       Of those MOCs, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren put her own expertise to use in fighting the petition.  In a letter dated May 26th, she urged Chairman Chatterjee to preserve state authority, providing specific examples of legal precedent that clearly gives decision-making power and net-metering program control to the states.

       The decision to reject the petition was unanimous among all 4 FERC commissioners as Chatterjee announced “We find that the petition does not identify a specific controversy or harm that the commission should address in a declaratory order.”

Photo Courtesy: Wesley Eland
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