The Louisiana Public Services Commission voted last week to keep its net metering program intact.
The state has required investor-owned utility companies to the buy electricity homeowners produce with rooftop solar panels at retail rates since 2005. The practice, called net metering, has allowed families that produce more power than they use during the day when their panels are generating electricity to get credit on their electric bills. This offsets the expenses from the power they use at night or other times when their solar panels aren’t producing enough electricity to power the house.
Net metering is a popular program designed to incentivize solar installations, which generate power during peak demand periods in 43 states.
Regulators in several states throughout the country have proposed doing away with net metering and allowing utilities to credit people with rooftop solar installations what the utility pays for wholesale power or for energy it produces itself rather than the retail rate.
Clyde Halloway, head of Louisiana’s Public Service Commission proposed the regulation change that would have done away with net metering in the state. Holloway was outvoted in the end and the state has preserved its net metering program.
“The defeat of the motion to dismantle net metering in Louisianna, a red state, represents another win for rooftop solar,” according to a release from the Alliance for Affordable Energy.
The decision came after significant protest and opposition to the proposal to do away with net metering.
“People across Louisiana are tired of paying outrageous utility bills and thousands of those people decided to do something about it,” according to the release. “Through the Voices of Louisiana Solar Campaign, solar owners are speaking up and refusing to stand by while energy companies attempt to kill affordable energy alternatives.”
The commission voted three to two to retain the program as is on the same day it voted to reinstate an energy conservation program.
This is not the only instance of net metering programs under threat in the country. Several other states are dealing with groups and organizations fighting against the net metering programs and increasing adoption of renewable energy sources.
Groups like California Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy (CAUSE) and Arizona’s Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed (TUSK) are actively fighting to maintain net metering programs and educate the people and elected officials about their value.