Lawmakers are urged to loosen net-metering rules

Members of a legislative interim committee on energy were urged Monday to loosen the restrictions on how net metering is approved and what types of power generation it can be applied to.

Ray Bacon of the Nevada Manufacturers Association testified to the panel that companies need “a clear, established policy” that enables them to decide whether they should invest in “power-generation facilities” — solar or otherwise.

“We suggest that the (Public Utilities Commission) should be tasked to set open-but-consistent rules and the process, but not be involved in each approval,” Bacon argued. “They would likely need to be involved if a potential generator and the utility disagree. The better and more clear the rules are, the less likely the (commission) will need to be involved on a regular basis.”

Net metering allows commercial and residential installations of solar- and wind-generating plants to offset their electric bills by generating power and sending it back into the electric utility’s system.

Bacon argued that not just solar and wind, but other types of power plants, should be allowed to use net metering.

“We urge this committee to be open and futuristic on the idea of allowing net metering for all customers,” he said.

Bacon said that could be “a game-changer to bring companies such as Tesla to this state.”

Nevada is on the short list of potential locations for a new plant making batteries for Tesla, the maker of high-tech electric-powered cars.

The committee chaired by Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-Las Vegas, is having the PUC study net-metering rates and other issues, including the restrictions in current law mandating how applications are approved and maximum sizes of solar and other generating stations outside of NV Energy.


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