LAS VEGAS – NC Energy customers’ power rates will stay the same —
for now. The Public Utilities Commission rejected an application from NV Energy to increase part of your electric bill.
How? It’s all tied to rooftop solar, the legislature, and simple math.
Nearly two years ago, the light was fading on Robco Electric.
“Between Christmas and New Year, I had to layoff 15 people,” said Robert Kowalczik, the owner of Robco Electric.
Robco installs rooftop solar panels, and at that time, business had simply dried up.
“All the solar work was coming to a close,” Kowalczik said.
In 2015, people protested Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission because it adopted new rules that essentially wiped out the rooftop solar industry.
However, during the last legislative session, those rules were reversed with Assembly Bill 405. AB 405 presented problems for NV Energy because it charges customers two basic ways: a flat fee, and a usage fee.
If customers use less power because of solar, that income will go down, so the utility made a complex proposal to the PUC causing the flat rate to go up for everyone.
Net metering, which earns the difference between solar power and regular use would get tweaked too.
On Friday morning, the PUC briefly discussed the proposal and turned most of it down, rejecting claims by NV Energy that it was being hurt by home solar.
NV Energy said it would follow Friday’s decision and work with private solar customers. Friday’s decision was not only a win for the solar industry, but it was also validation that the state wants homes to produce their own power.
For Robco, it’s another positive sign, and the business is up 300 percent from the Spring.
Kowalczik said he even rehired all of the workers he had previously laid off.
“Solar is on the move,” Kowalczik said.