The Alliance will be participating in GiveNOLA day, this coming Tuesday, May 5. Perhaps you’ve seen the signs around New Orleans, and are wondering what all the fuss is about? Well here are some details!
Here's what you need to know!
Net-Metering policy in Louisiana is pretty simple. We have retail net-metering, with unlimited roll-over, and compensation for excess credits when the account is terminated at avoided cost. This isn’t the most generous net-metering policy but it’s not bad either. Unfortunately, this policy is only available to about 10,000 customers in Louisiana. We have a “hard cap” of 0.5% on utility load. There are 5 sides to this debate and we have made a first-person guide for you.
What homeowners say: It’s my house, I can make my own energy if I want to. I don’t owe the monopoly utility anything. I can buy energy from them or not buy energy from them. It is my choice. The energy I create belongs to me and I should be compensated fairly for it. My energy bills never go down, they only go up. If I invest in my family’s energy future by buying solar panels, then I lock in an affordable energy service for years to come.
What Utilities say: We make investments in power plants, lines, poles, transformers and then charge our customers for these investments through the utility bill. This is how we keep the lights on. If people start making their own energy instead of buying it, then we lose money and have to increase rates to cover the loss. After we increase rates then we fear that will drive more people to start making their own energy. This will, again, mean a loss for us and we have to increase rates again which, in turn, drives even more people to make their own energy instead of buying it from us. And the cycle continues. We call this the “Utility Death Spiral”, aka worst case scenario. If we go out of business, your net-metering will stop working.
What the LPSC says (more or less): We support solar energy but we do not want grid costs to increase for people who do not have solar because people with solar are paying less for grid costs.
What Solar companies say: Our business is putting solar panels on roofs. This shouldn’t be so political. Unfortunately, there has been constant policy changes and uncertainty which has created a hostile environment. We want predictability in policy so we can plan our business strategy appropriately. In spite of all the uncertainty, we have still managed to grow and create 3,500 jobs in Louisiana. We just want to make sure our customers get the proper value for their investment to encourage more people to go solar.
What Consumer Advocates say (that’s us!): Everyone should pay their fair share of the grid if they are using the grid. We all need affordable and reliable electricity. Homeowners should have the right to make their own energy AND the utility must be able to recover costs of reliably providing power to their customers. A favorable balance can be achieved if all sides behave honorably moving forward.