UTC Approves PSE Request to Extend Net Metering


On December 20, 2023, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) submitted a formal request to the Washington Utility and Trade Commission (UTC) for approval to continue offering full retail rate net metering “to Customers that have applied for interconnection of a new or modified Net Metering System until December 31, 2025, or when a replacement Net Metering schedule is in place for new Net Metered Customers, whichever is later.”

This action was necessary because PSE was approaching the minimum net metering requirement mandated by Washington law. Once this requirement is met, a utility company has the option to switch to an alternative rate for surplus solar energy exported to the grid, although it is not mandatory. However, since PSE is an investor-owned utility regulated by the UTC, they were obligated to formally apply for approval in order to maintain full retail rate net metering after reaching the legal minimum.

After thorough evaluation by staff, the UTC granted PSE approval on Thursday, February 22, 2024, with a few conditions that involve analysis to be completed by PSE by December 31, 2024.

The complete text of the UTC staff recommendation can be accessed here.

A noteworthy comment in the report states: “Staff believes that a unified statewide approach to the future of net metering would be more favorable than each utility adopting a different approach after reaching the 4 percent threshold.”  This comment is a reference to a Value of Solar study being advocated for by PSE and WASEIA.

READ: Funding for Comprehensive Value of Solar and Storage Approved

WASEIA applauds PSE for taking this important step. This commitment by PSE is significant because it gives assurance to potential solar adopters, allowing them to make informed decisions about their solar investments for the next two years. It also acts as a safeguard against unethical marketing tactics used by non-local companies. Some of these companies have used claims that net metering will end soon to pressure potential clients into signing contracts. Additionally, it provides vital information to the solar industry, aiding in crucial business and workforce development decisions, thereby helping to keep small businesses alive and living wage jobs available all around our state.

WASEIA would also like to extend its appreciation to the UTC for the additional time this extension provides for the solar industry and Washington’s largest utility to determine a fair and equitable compensation rate for exported solar energy. Additionally, the extension provides an opportunity to develop a plan that benefits underserved communities through the use of solar power. And we commend the UTC for recognizing the importance of a statewide solution rather than individual net metering solutions for each of Washington’s 60+ utilities.

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