SolarCity reinstated as intervenor in Nevada grandfathering case

As the latest evidence of the capriciousness of Nevada’s energy regulators, Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) Chair Paul Thomason has decided to allow SolarCity to participate in a case which will affect over 20,000 Nevada residents who installed rooftop solar – a week after denying the company’s participation.

On August 29, Thomason sided with utility NV Energy and ruled that SolarCity could not intervene in the docket, which will set rules regarding “grandfathering” customers who installed solar before the PUCN dismantled the state’s net metering policy last December under the previous net metering rules.

PUCN’s decision last December was the most severe reversal of an existing net metering policy to date in the United States, and was particularly egregious as regulators changed the compensation for customers who had already installed solar PV under the previous rules. However, five months later NV Energy, perhaps realizing that it had gone too far, petitioned PUCN to phase in the changes for pre-existing PV system owners over a period of time.

This decision to exclude SolarCity from the case was against the objections not only of SolarCity but also the position of the state’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. SolarCity has installed 9,400 PV systems in Nevada for customers who will be affected by any decisions in this case, and at the time SolarCity called the decision “unprecedented”.

However, Thomason reversed his ruling yesterday, allowing SolarCity to again participate in the case. While documents filed in the case showed no formal order or reason for the reversal, Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Thomason stated he does not consider SolarCity to have a direct and compelling interest in the case, but wanted the docket resolved as soon as possible.

As the next action, PUCN has set September 19 as the date for a formal hearing on grandfathering.