FERC dismisses NERA net metering petition in unanimous verdict

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The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has dismissed a petition which called for US net metering policies to be brought under federal jurisdiction.

All four commissioners – Neil Chatterjee, Richard Glick, Bernard McNamee and James Danly – rejected the petition to form a unanimous verdict in what constitutes a major victory for the residential solar sector.

In delivering their verdict, which can be read in full here, chairman Chatterjee considered the request made by the New England Ratepayers Association did not meet a threshold for requiring a declaratory order.

The petition, launched in April, called for net metering protocols to be overseen by federal rather than state authorities. It lobbied FERC to intervene against state-level net metering incentives for domestic solar installs, branding them “among the least efficient forms of renewable generation”. If successful, it would have paved the way for blanket decisions over the future of net metering to be made.

It was widely regarded as an attack on renewable generation and last month SEIA slammed the potential move as an “unlawful federal power grab” and an “unjustified intrusion into a State’s sovereign authority”.

It was also widely unpopular with the legal profession, and 15 attorneys general in the US called upon FERC to quash the request.  

Commenting on yesterday’s verdict, SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper applauded FERC’s decision to dismiss the “flawed” petition.

“As the leader of a coalition of conservative groups, solar advocates, state regulators and elected officials from both sides of aisle in opposition to this petition, SEIA applauds FERC’s unanimous decision to dismiss this flawed petition.  

“We are grateful to the state utility commissions and many other partners who strongly opposed this petition. We will continue working in the states to strengthen net metering policies to generate more jobs and investment, and we will advocate for fair treatment of solar at FERC where it has jurisdiction,” she said.

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