New Hampshire PUC staff suggests net-metering tweaks

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) staff suggested minor changes to net-metering while recommending the utility collect more data before the final net-metering rates are set in a pending rate case.

The PUC staff also found the utility did not prove its cost-shifting argument well enough to treat solar customers as a separate ratepayer class – at least not yet.

To help determine future rate design, the PUC staff recommended utilities collect more data before looking at both the costs and benefits of adding more solar to the grid when doing a new tariff.. Although the PUC staff believes some cost-shifting to non-solar customers could be a concern, they also said they believe it is minimal in other cases. Therefore, more data is needed to help the PUC determine what the final rates should be.

While the PUC staff determined there wasn’t enough data to revamp net-metering entirely, it did recommend the inclusion of other charges for such customers that would reduce the amount of the credit solar customers receive, including:

  • Stranded-cost recovery charges;
  • Systems-benefit charge;
  • All storm-recovery surcharges; and
  • The state electricity consumption tax.

The PUC staff also recommended rejecting the use of demand charges for the time being, though it agreed to revisit the issue after more data was collected. It did say it would not consider demand charges for individual peak consumption but only for system peak consumption.

In April, New Hampshire doubled its net-metering cap, allowing net-metering for up to 100 MW of solar power.

This article was edited at 10:54 am on 1/25/17 to clarify these are PUC staff recommendations, not final rules by the PUC.