IndianaDG Tells IURC to Reject Vectren’s Proposed EDG Tariff to Replace Net Metering
Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance (IndianaDG) filed testimony with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) asking them to reject Vectren’s proposed Excess Distributed Generation (EDG) tariff to replace net metering.
IndianaDG filed testimony of three (3) witnesses:
- Brad Morton of Evansville-based Morton Solar,
- Kurt Schneider of Indianapolis-based Johnson Melloh Solutions (“JMS”; and
- Edward T. Rutter of LWG CPAs and Advisors (“LWG”)
Both Morton and Schneider are with companies doing solar installations using net metering in the Vectren service territory.
Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) is a Vectren net metering customer who was one of five customers who asking Vectren to provide an analysis of their last 12 months of electric bills under net metering compared to what it would have been under Vectren’s proposed EDG tariff.
“Since Vectren provided very little information in their testimony about the expected impact of their proposed EDG tariff, I thought it was a good idea for me to just ask them.” said Bacon. “Then I could share with my constituents what the impact might be for new solar customers under Vectren’s proposal.”
If approved by the IURC, Vectren’s EDG tariff would only apply to new solar customers or existing net metering customers who add to their system thereby requiring a new Interconnection Agreement.
“I was astonished and flabbergasted by the Vectren bill analysis I received showing how my bill would have been under the EDG tariff as compared to net metering.” Bacon continued, “My Vectren electric bill for the past 12 months showed an increase of more than 5 times higher under EDG than net metering.”
“That was quite a shock,” said Bacon. “I think I have a responsibility and duty to inform Vectren customers in southwest Indiana who is thinking about installing solar systems especially local units of government and schools as well as residential and commercial customers.”
“Although I am retiring from the Indiana General Assembly, I strongly urge that state lawmakers look at the potential impact of Vectren’s proposal, “said Bacon. “and then take appropriate corrective action during the 2021 session.”
“We should be supporting the solar industry as a way to increase jobs in southern Indiana, particularly in light of the decline in area coal mining. Instead, this shocking rate result will chill future interest in new customer-owned solar and the jobs that go with it.” Continued Bacon. “The sun’s energy is a gift from God for each of us to harness and to improve our lives. It should not be financially monopolized by an electric utility.”
Morton states: “My testimony explains the adverse impacts Vectren’s proposal would have on my business Morton Solar, on our prospective customers, on ratepayers served by Vectren and on Indiana’s economy.”
“Vectren’s estimated value of EDG is much too low, unreasonably lengthening the Vectren customer “payback ” period for the cost of a new solar energy system. ” continued Morton. “This will deter customers from installing solar energy systems on their homes and businesses.”
Schneider’s company JMS recently completed the solar carport system at the Evansville airport. “Vectren’s EDG tariff would be very bad for JMS’s business and our prospective customers.”
“The double whammy of Vectren’s proposal is first they would cut the rate but second they would further reduce EDG credits by an “instantaneous” netting methodology.” continued Schneider. “In my opinion, this will drastically reduce or dry up JMS’s Indiana solar business in the Vectren service area.”
Rutter explains in his testimony there are both direct and indirect benefits from DG resources to the grid which Vectren does not recognize.
Rutter offers comments about the recent Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report to the 21st Century Indiana Energy Development Policy Task Force.
“LBNL modeled solar DG at high levels of penetration in Vectren’s service area over the next 20 years,” Rutter said. “This suggests that SEA 309 was premature in not having this comprehensive study to understand the benefits and costs associated with DER deployment, particularly rooftop solar. The report states that systems with high adoption of rooftop solar results in system-wide savings.”
In addition, testimony filed for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) by Anthony Alvarez states: “…because Vectren’s proposal does not conform with the statutory requirements for determining EDG, I recommend the Commission deny Vectren’s request for approval of its proposed Rider EDG Tariff.”
Other intervenors also urging that the IURC deny Vectren’s request for their EDG Tariff are Joint Intervenors including Citizens Action Coalition (CAC), Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), Vote Solar and Solar United Neighbors (SUN) as well as Solarize Indiana.
Vectren is the first Indiana electric utility to file a proposed DG tariff to replace net metering pursuant to SEA 309 enacted by the Indiana General Assembly in 2017.
The state law prescribes that the remaining four electric utilities–NIPSCO, Duke Energy, I&M and IPL–file proposed DG tariffs no later than March 1, 2021.
The testimony was filed in Cause No. 45378. An evidentiary hearing before the IURC is currently scheduled for October 6, 2020 beginning at 9:30 am Eastern.