Net metering upheld in West Virginia

By Ben Delman on March 21, 2019

West Virginia’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has protected our right to produce our own solar energy. The PSC’s latest net metering order denies a bid by the state’s monopoly electric utilities to drastically reduce the rate of compensation for net-metered solar owners. Rather, the PSC has ruled that solar owners will continue to receive full retail-rate credit for the energy their solar panels produce.

A win four years in the making

This great news is thanks to the hundreds of solar supporters from across the state who wrote to the commission demanding it protect our solar rights! It is the culmination of work that began back in 2015. At the time, the legislature considered a bill that would have repealed the state’s net metering law. Our response was swift. More than 1,000 public comments were sent to legislators. West Virginia’s community of solar supporters persuaded them to back off a repeal.

Instead, the legislature instructed the Public Service Commission to determine the impact that solar customers have on the wider electric grid. The PSC convened a stakeholder process that included solar supporters, experts, and monopoly utilities. This group is known as the Net Metering Task Force. Task force participants regularly met and presented evidence to PSC staff and commissioners. The PSC’s order is the result of this process.

Next steps

The only issue left in dispute is whether the state’s utilities should be able to force customers to install expensive new metering equipment. Solar United Neighbors and other members of the state’s Net Metering Task Force oppose this request by the utilities as unnecessary and burdensome. We have been called to testify at a PSC hearing next month and will speak strongly in defense of solar owners’ right to net meter with standard bi-directional meters. The PSC is holding a public hearing April 30.

Thank you to everyone who took action to defend our solar rights during this latest round in the ongoing fight for fairness and energy freedom in West Virginia. Solar United Neighbors works hard to ensure that solar owners are treated fairly and compensated fully for the benefits they provide to the grid. We invite you to support our work by making a donation or volunteering with us at an upcoming event. Together, we are creating a clean, equitable, democratic energy system with rooftop solar as the cornerstone.