ACC fixes net-metering grandfathering clause

Three weeks to the day after the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) essentially gutted net-metering for future solar customers in the state, it passed an amendment to the decision changing the way current solar customers will be grandfathered under the new rules.

Under the initial ruling, current solar customers locked in their current reimbursement rate for 20 years from the day of their systems were connected to the grid until the date the new rules were decided. The problem is that there is often a two- to three-week delay between the time when an interconnection request is filed and when the actual interconnection occurs.

Arizona Public Service (APS), the state’s most powerful utility, rightly believed this rule punished solar customers who, through no fault of their own, filed an interconnection request but hadn’t been interconnected by the time the new rules were instituted. To fix this hitch in the system, APS filed for an amendment to the ruling only days afterward.

An administrative law judge filed her recommendation last Wednesday, in which she stated her belief that APS’ petition be accepted by the commission and the amendment passed.

The amendment also received enthusiastic support from a coalition of solar advocates, including Tucson Electric Power, the state Residential Utility Consumer Office, the Vote Solar Coalition, the Alliance for Solar Choice and the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association.

The commission passed the amendment by a vote of 4-1.

Today’s amendment could finally officially end three-year, often-contentious value-of-solar docket. Around 30 groups took part in the deliberations, including solar advocates, along with electric co-operatives and the state’s utilities.

The bruising battle seemed as if it would go on forever, even after the ACC ordered an evidentiary hearing in November 2015 to determine the value of solar based on discussions between the groups involved.