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NARUC Granted Partial Extension to File Comments in Net Metering Proceeding
Limited Time to Respond Does Not Serve the Public Interest
WASHINGTON (May 5, 2020) — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ recent motion to intervene and for an extension to file comments in a net energy metering proceeding was partially granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Last month, the New England Ratepayers Association petitioned FERC to “declare that there is exclusive federal jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales from generation sources located on the customer side of the retail meter” and to order that the rates fall under federal purview, contrary to the current standard that places these programs under state authority. NARUC subsequently responded by filing a motion asking for status to intervene and for FERC to grant a 90-day extension to file comments, from its May 14 deadline to August 12.
In the motion, NARUC made it clear that, in light of the current pandemic, more time is warranted to form its response and asked for a 90-day extension, specifically noting that “state commissions need adequate time to consider the issues raised in the Petition and understand the wide-reaching implications of the changes sought.” Moreover, an extension to August would have provided an opportunity for focused discussions among state regulators and other interested parties during NARUC’s Summer Policy Summit, planned for mid-July.
“All regulators — state and federal — are called to serve the public interest. By limiting our response time — during a historic global pandemic — FERC has clearly decided to prioritize expediency over serving the public interest,” said Mississippi Commissioner and NARUC President Brandon Presley. “Although we were obviously hoping for a more reasonable time to develop our formal reply, we will work diligently in the weeks to come to fight this unwarranted challenge to state authority.
”The timing of the NERA petition is questionable, to say the least and extorts the current limited opportunities of NARUC members. While state regulators work around the clock to keep vital services flowing to Americans during a worldwide pandemic, they should not have to divert precious time, attention and resources to fighting NERA's request in a tightly compressed schedule. But, given this ruling yesterday, we will fight this petition with all of our resources because this is not the way to properly develop public policy," he added.
NARUC’s April 28, 2020, motion to extend the deadline was supported by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel and the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, Public Interest Organizations, New England Small Hydro Coalition, Advanced Energy Economy, the New England States Committee on Electricity, American Public Power Association, the National Association of State Energy Officials and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The April 28 motion is available at bit.ly/2W5UOyT. NARUC will submit a formal response by the 30-day extension, June 15, 2020.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of state public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.