The new Republican leadership in the WV Legislature may give new life to past attempts to repeal net metering for solar power producers in WV. Republican and coal Democratic legislators have introduced bills to repeal sections of WV’s fake Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard law every year since the bill was passed in 2009.
Here is the information on the bill introduced last year. Note that the bill includes the repeal of §24 – 2 F- 8 of the WV Code. That is the paragraph that created a mandate in law for WV power companies to offer net metering to their customers.
If you have installed photovoltaic generating equipment on your home or business, and you are connected to the grid, you need to watch the 2015 legislative session very closely. I guarantee you that a net metering repeal bill will be introduced again this year. If this section of the ARPS law is passed, investments in solar power by West Virginians will be in serious jeopardy.
Readers of The Power Line know that almost all of the Manchin/coal industry ARPS law is actually an assault on renewable power in WV. Republicans have made the silly, and thoroughly untrue, claim that the ARPS law created “cap and trade” (a meaningless term in this context) in WV. In fact, the law completely insulated AEP and FirstEnergy from any requirement to support new renewable power capacity in our state. For these reasons, most of the ARPS law could be repealed without any negative impact on renewable power in WV.
The net metering section of the law, §24 – 2 F- 8, is the one exception. Repeal of this section will be a seizure by the Legislature of property rights guaranteed to WV citizens when the law passed in 2009. Many citizens and business owners relied on this law, and their ability to sell power back to power companies, when they invested thousands of dollars in their systems.
If the Republican majority in the WV Legislature is serious about protecting private property and small businesses, they will block any attempts to repeal the net metering section of WV’s ARPS law. Solar power producers in WV need to stand up and fight on this issue, or we will lose everything we have fought for in the last 20 years.