In our first post about Question 3, we spoke about how rooftop solar will be unaffected by Question 3. After doing more research and speaking to Chris Brooks, the writer of the Net Metering bill, we have some updated information that makes the future of net metering more unknown.

Don’t think that there isn’t the possibility of protection. There is a section specifying that the Amendment itself will not be “construed to invalidate Nevada ‘s public policies on renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental protection or limit the Legislature’s ability to impose such policies on participants in a competitive electricity market.”

 In a nutshell, this means that the Amendment by itself will not change these past pieces of legislation. This is why we thought that net metering would be 100% safe, because in theory this protects AB 405 from changes. That is not fully accurate.

The part of the bill that is worrisome is this section here: “every person, business, association of persons or businesses, state agency, political subdivision of the State of Nevada, or any other entity in Nevada has the right to choose the provider of its electric utility service, including hut [sic] not limited to, selecting providers from a competitive retail electric market, or by producing electricity for themselves or in association with others..”

This basically means that not only can any entity in Nevada buy power from whoever they want, but anyone can also create power however they want. This includes good things like individuals wanting to store solar energy with batteries, or bad things like giant companies creating energy that isn’t sustainable or clean (like Michigan wanting to include burning tires into their portfolio in 2014).

This could create some issues. The new utility companies aren’t forced to pay for energy created from residential solar panels if we’re simply going off of the Amendment itself, and since NV Energy will no longer be around to pay for net metering, the other choices you will be forced to sign up with may not want to follow the rules of AB 405.

Chris Brooks even stated that the Amendment could potentially harm the green energy production of the state. These new energy companies won’t be as regulated by the PUC so they have a lot more freedom to do whatever they want, either good or bad. These issues vary from using nonrenewable energy sources to not honoring the net metering bill at all. The possibility of predatory business practices is also a major concern if the upcoming legislation isn’t 100% crystal clear on the rules business have to follow.

Again, a lot of this is still in the dark, none of the details have been figured out yet so the actual way our energy market, green energy initiatives and net metering will work together are still a complete mystery. They could be completely fine once the dust clears. We don’t know, nobody knows on either side.

But the possibility of losing your net metering retail rate is real if solid protections aren’t written into the new policies. 

We’ll continue updating here with more information, but it seems like Question 3 has the potential to help or seriously harm green energy in our state.

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