Growing Controversies over Solar Power Rates

Oklahoma is not the only state dealing with a growing controversy over solar power rates that utilities want to charge their customers over the renewable energy.

Nevada energy regulators meet this week to decide on the issue of a rate hike for solar customers. The base service charge would increase from $12.75 a month to $17.90 for customers in southern Nevada while the charge for northern Nevada customers would jump from $15.25 a month to $21.09.

As the Associated Press reported, the changes also reduce the amount the utility pays to buy power back from rooftop solar panels, from 11 cents a kilowatt hour to 9 cents in southern Nevada and from 12 cents to 10.5 cents in the north. The service charge will increase and the reimbursement will drop every year until 2020.

Supporters contend the state has long supported the solar industry and it’s time to phase out subsidies that were created nearly two decades ago to help the industry get off the ground.

In Oklahoma, corporation commission administrative law judge Jacqueline Miller ruled last month the Commission should approve a plan to levy demand charges on customers of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. who install rooftop solar and other distributed generation. No vote has been scheduled by the full commission. The utility has 254 customers of distributed generation and Judge Miller said OGE showed distributed generation customers were actually subsidized by their grid costs by other customers in the residential rate class.


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