Legislature and commercial real estate compromise on Capitol Hill

Wednesday a big surprise and compromise for a bill raising Rocky Mountain Power rates for rooftop solar customers. Senate Bill 208 was created by Senator Curt Bramble and now he has changed his mind.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Wednesday a big surprise and compromise for a bill raising Rocky Mountain Power rates for rooftop solar customers. Senate Bill 208 was created by Senator Curt Bramble and now he has changed his mind. Senator Bramble says the meeting was about coming to an agreement. A variety of people were in the closed door meeting including Rocky Mountain Power and the Building Owners and Managers of Utah (BOMA).

"We believe that it provides a fair opportunity for the utilities and the Public Service Commission to evaluate whether there is a benefit or a cost implication to solar installation or other energy efficiency measures,” said Justin Farnsworth the Vice President of BOMA.

Prior to the substitute bill SB 208 would have imposed a $4.25 monthly fee to all net metering customers or those who generate their own solar energy or wind power.

“The Issue here is everyone that is connected to the grid should bare there fair share of the cost of that grid the fixed cost. Whether you have solar, wind, other forms of alternative energy there is a price there is a cost of having the power grid,” said Senator Bramble.

However for BOMA, Farnsworth says it wasn’t the cost they were concerned about, but rather the stepping over boundaries."Our initial concern was that the public service commission didn't have an adequate opportunity to assess the cost or benefit and appeared to take that right away but now this language appears to address that and alleviate that concern,” said Farnsworth.

As for Rocky Mountain Power they too are pleased with the bills language saying all they were looking for was fairness and balance for their customers choosing to do net metering programs.  “It’s a fairness issue those that choose not to put solar panels on their house shouldn't have to pay for others that do and those that are putting them in should be informed about the cost of making that decision,” said Jeff Larsen from Rocky Mountain Power.

The next step is for the bill to go before the senate to substitute the language.

 

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