PacifiCorp Proposes to Replace Net Metering Program for Idaho Customers

Rocky Mountain Power, a unit of PacifiCorp, proposed to close its net metering program, which compensates customers for exported energy at the retail rate, and create a successor program that would provide compensation based on an export credit rate, according to a June 12 press release from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

The new net billing service would compensate customers at an export credit rate of 2.24 cents per kilowatt-hour. The existing net metering program credits customers at 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for excess generation sent to the grid. PacifiCorp proposes to close the current program as of July 31, allowing existing customers to remain under the service for 10 years.

The proposed changes will be analysed by PacifiCorp in a two-phase cost-benefit study, according to the commission. The initial design phase will provide opportunity to comment on the scope and methods of the study. The company will then conduct the study, and the commission will issue an order establishing a schedule for the next review phase.

The successor proposal includes a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $85 for customers with on-site generation. The utility proposes to use three components that consider energy, avoided line losses, and integration cost in determining the export credit rate. The energy value would be determined using the “surrogate avoided resource,” or SAR, method, with on-peak and off-peak pricing. The commission uses this method to calculate the avoided cost, or the cost incurred by the utility if it were to build and maintain a combined-cycle natural gas power plant. Under the proposal, the energy component is calculated as $22.34 per megawatt-hour; the avoided line losses and integration costs are calculated as $3.36 and $0.25 per megawatt-hour, respectively.