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Wisconsin judge blocks utility net metering changes

Dive Brief:

  • A Dane County (Wis.) Circuit Court judge has remanded two Wisconsin Public Service ​net metering decisions back to state regulators, agreeing with clean energy advocates that more explanation was needed.
  • Renew Wisconsin had challenged a 2013 decision limiting the size of solar systems and reducing the net metering accounting period, which the group said allowed the utility to pay less to customers with rooftop generation.
  • The same judge struck down a 2012 PSC decision allowing Milwaukee-based We Energies to limit the availability of its net metering service to solar customers, similarly citing a lack of evidence in the hearing record.

Dive Insight:

Solar advocates at Renew Energy may be turning the tide against restrictive net metering policies they believe are holding back cleaner generation and allowing utilities to unfairly compensate customers. For the second time in a year, the group has scored a victory before Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel​ reported.

The decisions do not immediately make changes to WPS’ net metering program, but remands the decision back to state regulators for “further fact-finding and to establish a sufficient record.”

The first point remanded back to the PSC allowed WPS to reduce the size of the renewable energy system qualifying for net metering, from 100 KW to 20 KW, which Renew Wisconsin said “restricts many businesses, schools, and other medium-sized electricity users from participating in the program.”

The second decision granted the Green Bay-based utility’s proposal keep their netting period at 30 days, “which forces customer-generators to reduce the size of their solar systems to avoid being paid 3 cents per kilowatt-hour for the electricity they export to the grid,” the group said.


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