jsonline: We Energies has dropped its protest of a move by a solar energy coalition and environmental group to get involved in the upcoming fight over its plan to slash payments to customers who generate their own power. The decision means the hearings will become a showdown on questions that could decide how the market for clean energy unfolds in the years ahead.
We Energies is proposing big changes … say(ing) the move will be more fair for all of its customers. Like We Energies, Madison Gas & Electric Co. wants to pay less to solar power generating customers, as well as add a significant increase in the fixed charge on all customers' bills.
Those in the solar business disagree. They say the utility wants to limit customers' ability to take advantage of falling prices of equipment to generate solar power.
Earlier this month, We Energies … chastised them for … missing a PSC deadline for getting involved in the case. The groups countered that their tardiness should be excused. They claimed that We Energies didn't float its solar proposal and 75% increase in the monthly fixed charge on customers' bills until after that PSC deadline had passed … a customer generating solar power could see the amount paid by the utility drop by more than 34% in 2016.
Companies in the solar business, like SunVest Solar in Pewaukee, say the impact will be to spur more clean-energy development — and job creation — outside the state. SunVest develops solar projects in Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin. "Unfortunately, 90% or more of that work is being done in other states," said SunVest owner Matt Neumann. "We're creating these jobs in other states and our tax credits are getting invested in other states."
We Energies stresses that customers who don't produce their own power are gaining benefits from the power grid that they aren't fully compensating the utility for.