On Being Fair
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On Being Fair
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On Being Fair


There are three parties to consider when discussing 'fairness' of net-metering:
  • The residential customers in general
  • The residential customers who has invested in renewable energy
  • The power company
Residential Customer (All-inclusive)

If you examine a spreadsheet analyzing the cost of services in Exhibit RRR (an Excel spreadsheet) given as part of Joelle R. Steward's testimony you will see some very simple calculations:

The total purported shifting of cost-of-service by NEM customers to all customers is highlighted in yellow. That total is $313,069 over the year. When that $313,069 is distributed across the total kWhs consumed by residential customers over the year, and when it is distributed across the total residential customer bills over the year we come up with the following 'impact':

This means that net-metering customers are supposedly increasing the cost of each residential kWh by 0.000000008% or 0.00504637¢ (or, in dollars $0.0000504637).

Meanwhile, as part of the same filing with the Public Service Commission, Rocky Mountain Power is requesting an increase of 5.1% across the board for all residential customers. Their rate increase request is 637,500,000 times as much as the purported 0.000000008% cost shifting of net-metering customers.

Please ask yourself this: "Who is truly being unfair to residential electricity customers?"

The Net-metering Residential Customer

Rocky Mountain Power is proposing a flat $4.25 per month penalty against each net-metering customer regardless of how much or how little energy the NEM customer feeds back into the utility system over a month. Some NEM customers, especially those with few financial resources but who would still like to reduce their environmental impact, feed very little if any energy back into the system. And some NEM customers have installed larger renewable energy systems which more than cover their electricity needs and actually result in an excess sacrificed at the end of the year and which represents a generous contribution to Rocky Mountain Power's bottom line.

How is it fair that every NEM customer pay this same fee? Even if this fee could possibly be found legitimate, UCARE can only consider this a deliberate penalty proposed by Rocky Mountain Power in order to discourage all customers from exercising their choice to use electricity from clean sources rather than from pollution generating coal.

Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Power comes out a winner regardless of how the net-metering fee request comes out. They are guaranteed a certain percentage of profits. If the net-metering fee is denied then any purported costs are simply passed on to all customers. As another example, if the EPA requires RMP to reduce CO2, NO2 and NOx emissions and doing so costs in plant upgrades or even plant shutdowns then those costs are simply passed on to all customers in higher energy costs while still maintaining the same profit percentage. 

Updated on Jun 3, 2014 by Mike Rossetti (Version 27)