AUGUSTA, Maine — It didn’t go far enough for Gov. Paul LePage, but Maine utility regulators rankled advocates on Tuesday when they rolled back a policy allowing homeowners with solar panels to be credited for excess power sold to the grid.
The move was opposed by pro-solar groups, and it’s likely to be followed by another bid in the Maine Legislature to liberalize solar policy........Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, called the commission’s move “a roll-back of the one thing that is sustaining some amount of a solar market in the state.”
PPH - Solar installers decry the new PUC rule, foreshadowing a fresh fight in the Legislature.
LePage also is unhappy with the PUC’s action, but for the opposite reason. Noting the state’s above-average electricity prices, LePage issued a statement saying the rule continued to shift the burden onto home customers and businesses that can’t afford it.
For immediate release: January 31, 2017
Contact: Angela Monroe, Governor's Energy Office, firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor Paul R. LePage issued a statement today about the Public Utilities Commission’s decision about net energy billing, which puts the burden of higher prices on ratepayers who can least afford it.
Under the rule adopted today by the PUC, other electric ratepayers will continue to subsidize net energy billing customers at rates far above market rates for the next 25 years. While it will decrease over time, the adopted rule will keep net metering subsidies for net energy billing through 2042.
“Net energy billing customers should be compensated for the electricity they generate at fair market rates,” said Governor LePage. “Other ratepayers should not be subsidizing those installations to make solar viable. If it cannot stand on its own two feet, they should not have to pay higher rates to some of the more affluent ratepayers.”
“Electricity rates in Maine are already far above the national average--Maine has the 11th highest rates in the United States,” said Governor LePage. “Rates have destroyed our industrial base, our commercial base and, more importantly, are causing higher rates for those who can ill afford it.”
“By continuing to subsidize net energy billing, the PUC continues to shift the burden away from those who choose to install and have the resources to afford roof-top solar installations and onto ratepayers, including low-income and elderly customers, as well as businesses already operating on very thin margins, that cannot afford to pay more than they do now.”