Illinois regulators move to preserve retail net metering rate, order audit of Ameren’s bid to end it

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The Illinois Commerce Commission, in an Oct. 1 order, urged Ameren “to provide full net metering credits to residential solar customers until an audit is completed.”  The commission also directed its staff to perform the audit and determine if Ameren has reached the required threshold under state law for ending retail net metering in its service territory. Ameren says it may reach that threshold imminently. ICC Chairman Carrie Zalewski “expressed concerns that by allowing Ameren to end net metering before the Commission approved the replacement tariff as required by statute, would be a violation of the legislature’s intent to transition smoothly from retail net metering to a successor distributed generation rebate,” the commission said in a press release.

Dive Brief

The continued growth of residential solar is under threat in Illinois, the solar industry said this week, with Ameren asserting a 2016 state law allows it to stop compensating home solar customers at the full retail rate for the power they send back to the grid.

The Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016 allows a utility to work with state regulators to replace the full retail rate, based on net metering, with a negotiated “distributed generation rebate” when the amount of distributed solar generation reaches 5% of the peak demand on the system. Ameren says it will soon reach that threshold.

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has set a public meeting for today,following an emergency request from the solar industry and environmental groups asking it to order Ameren to continue full retail compensation, kilowatt-hour for kilowatt-hour, until a new distributed generation tariff is developed, as required by the 2016 law.

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