A letter to the Public Utilities Commission

26 Jan A letter to the Public Utilities Commission

Dear Public Utilities Commission,

My name is Tu Anh Tran. I am an employee of Sol-Up USA, a local Las Vegas solar installer. Today I’m speaking in regards to the net metering docket. NV Energy proposes an amount of $622 as the average monthly subsidy per Net Energy Metering (NEM) customer. There have been many questions raised regarding the validity of this amount, but let’s assume this number is accurate. Please reconsider. Solar power is a clean energy source, unlike coal-powered energy. It is safer to harness this free power, as opposed to mining for coal, where safety issues have long been documented and ongoing. Solar energy not only reduces America’s dependency on foreign oil, but it also reduces air pollution and does not contribute to climate change. Is it reasonable to justify paying a higher price for a power source with such benefits? I’d say, absolutely.

Clean energy creates a better environment and in turn, a better society and planet for the future. In order to achieve this goal, it will require a long-term investment by the people of Nevada and its government. The definition of an investment is not to receive an immediate payout but to secure the future. We have to protect the long-term health of our planet for future generations. We also need to maintain the current conditions of the environment so that there is a future to work towards. NV Energy realizes this and that is why they’re asking the Commission to build new solar plants. At the same time, they’re also planning on charging additional fees for the ratepayers who want to power their homes through clean power sources. If NV Energy is going to charge more for solar energy that they produce, why is the Commission raising rates for those who chose to go solar and put clean energy back into the grid?

Going solar is a small way in which ordinary people can make a difference. The pioneers of the solar movement are being unfairly penalized for their participation in a program that benefits the environment – a program introduced and promoted by the state through incentives. Consumers are not upset by the need to set higher rates, as this is an inevitable aspect of energy prices, rather we are outraged by the fact that signed contracts are now being reneged upon.

The utility company in Nevada, being a monopoly, is a relict from the past century. Unlike in almost all free and developed countries of the world, Nevadans have to suffer from a utility model which excludes competition and forces ratepayers to accept price increases without the option of choosing an alternative provider. Residential and commercial solar systems is one form of competition to the monopoly utility on Nevada’s electricity market. Eliminating it will allow the utility to further dictate the prices and eventually damage non solar ratepayers who are shamelessly being used by the PUC as alleged beneficiary of the new regulations.

In addition to these issues, the Commission has disregarded the amount of job loss suffered by solar companies, as well as the loss of an entire industry altogether. As a solar contractor here in Las Vegas, I can personally attest to the struggles and losses this decision has created for us. Our business has suffered as a consequence of the result of this docket. Sol-Up USA serves as evidence for the loss of business based on the result of this docket and I am certain other solar companies in the state are feeling the same struggles.

Please take into consideration the long-lasting impact that the new net metering rates will have on Nevadans. The focus should be on how to encourage people to better the planet, not how they can be punished for doing some good in the world. I am asking the Commission to completely reject its decision and reinstate Net Metering in its original form for existing and future clients.

Thank you.

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