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Press Release AG Healey Leads Coalition Calling on FERC to Reject Baseless Petition to Dismantle State Net Metering Programs

Petition by the “New England Ratepayers Association” Seeks to Overturn State Authority and Financially Harm Customers; 31 Attorneys General Send Additional Letter to FERC Opposing Petition
For immediate release:
6/15/2020
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Leads Coalition Calling on FERC to Reject Baseless Petition to Dismantle State Net Metering Programs

Chloe Gotsis

BOSTON Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today led a coalition of 16 attorneys general, the California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject a petition seeking to end state net metering programs. Approval of the petition could deprive states of a vital clean energy program, financially harm millions of customers, and place thousands of jobs at risk.

The states’ protest, filed with FERC today, argues that a petition by the so-called “New England Ratepayers Association” (NERA) is unlawful and would improperly overturn nearly 20 years of precedent recognizing state authority to implement net metering programs, including the authority to set rates, terms, and conditions. Net metering allows customers that generate their own clean electricity – like using rooftop solar panels – to lower their retail electricity bill by offsetting the amount of electricity they use with the amount they produce. 

“Net metering is a smart, consumer-focused program that saves customers money on their electricity bills, and supports our state’s thriving $13.2 billion clean energy economy,” AG Healey said. “We won’t allow this meritless petition from a shadowy lobbying firm to take away decades of precedent and undermine the progress our states have made toward meeting our climate goals and saving money for our ratepayers.”

NERA is a corporate trade association that keeps its members and donors a secret, with a history of opposing state environmental regulation and renewable energy projects. In the protest filing, the states argue that the petition, which asks FERC to assert federal jurisdiction over 45 state net metering programs, would harm ratepayers, disrupt millions of dollars of investment in local power generation, and undermine state clean energy initiatives necessary for achieving emissions goals—many of which are legally mandated.

In addition to today’s protest, AG Healey also led a bipartisan coalition of 31 attorneys general in sending a letter to FERC urging the commission to deny NERA’s petition and to reaffirm the authority of states to regulate net metering.

For nearly 40 years, state laws have allowed net metering or the assessing of retail service charges that reflect a customer’s net energy usage during a billing period. In their filing, the states argue that NERA’s petition doesn’t provide any credible argument or facts that would justify FERC overturning state jurisdiction of net metering programs. The states further point out that NERA’s petition is procedurally improper because it asks FERC to decide an issue for which there is no live controversy or uncertainty.

The states also note the critical role that net metering plays in helping states achieve their climate goals by encouraging investment in clean energy generation by all customers including homeowners, small and large businesses, municipalities, and industrial customers. Massachusetts’s $13.2 billion clean energy economy includes more than 500 small businesses that manufacture, develop, or service solar installations. According to the states’ protest, the solar industry has created more than 240,000 jobs nationwide, largely due to net metering programs.

State net metering has broad support behind it. In May, 14 U.S. Senators sent a letter to FERC affirming their strong support of state net metering programs and urging the Commission to reject NERA’s petition.

Today’s protest to FERC was led by AG Healey and joined by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as the California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Joining AG Healey in sending today’s letter to FERC are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

This matter is being handled by Special Assistant Attorney General Liam J. Paskvan and Assistant Attorney General Tim Reppucci, both of AG Healey’s Energy and Telecommunications Division.

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Media Contact for AG Healey Leads Coalition Calling on FERC to Reject Baseless Petition to Dismantle State Net Metering Programs

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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