Supreme Court rejects rooftop solar referendum |

Supreme Court rejects rooftop solar referendum

Staff Reports

A referendum on rooftop solar rules won’t be on the ballot in November after a Nevada Supreme Court ruling on Thursday.

The court ruled that the description of the effect of the referendum included with the petition was misleading, and failed to accurately describe the referendum’s purpose.

“First, the description identifies the Public Utility Commission of Nevada’s imposed rates and charges as the referendum’s topic, suggesting that the petition will repeal the new rates and charges…”

Justices said that repeal of the administrative order would remove the commission’s ability to set specific net metering rates, something the petition never mentioned.

According to the ruling, justices said the description was argumentative, asserting that the rates and charges were unaffordable and cost prohibitive.

With the description declared invalid, all the signatures gained by proponents, who sought to overturn the commission’s action on net metering, are also invalid.

The petition was filed after the Public Utilities Commission changed the rules for solar net metering customers, sharply reducing the amount they get for feeding power back into the NVEnergy grid. They say that makes their solar systems not viable and, effectively, ends the net metering program.

In July, NV Energy asked the Public Utilities Commission to grandfather in rooftop solar customers who installed their systems prior to Dec. 31, 2015.

Customers who had an approved application to connect on Dec. 31, would remain on previous rates.

“We feel strongly that this grandfathering proposal is the most effective way to implement the recommendation previously made by NV Energy and that of the New Energy Industry Task Force,” said Caudill. “The proposal is simple and fair.”

The company asked the commission to act within in 90 days of its July 27 filing.