Net metering extension falls short in legislature


March 8, 2023, 5 p.m.

HB 1427, legislation to extend the net metering threshold and establish a working group to determine a successor rate to retail net metering, did not clear the state House of Representatives by this afternoon’s deadline.

Opponents of the measure successfully diluted support with claims of “cost shift” that suggests without evidence that net metered solar is overvalued at retail rate. That smokescreen also killed other important provisions of HB 1427, including an increase in allowable system size, consumer protection provisions, and a perpetual guarantee that low income electricity consumers could enjoy retail net metering.

Staffers from the governor’s office, WUTC and the state Department of Commerce did not counter that “cost shift” misinformation campaign, and in some cases amplified it. WASEIA provided several peer-reviewed studies on energy cost shifting, but did not receive a response.

In the last two days, opponents in the House Republican Caucus saddled the bill with more than half a dozen amendments designed to slow debate and “run out the clock” before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline. As a result, the bill did not reach the House floor today.

“It was always a big task to try to expand NEM this session . . . and unfortunately it didn’t happen,” WASEIA President Markus Virta said today. “But our work cannot end today. We need to understand how claims of “cost shift” were weaponized against our industry and how we can better dismantle these arguments over the interim and next session.”

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