Vectren seeking to pay customers less for excess solar power

A utility that serves about 145,000 customers in southwestern Indiana is seeking approval to significantly reduce financial credits given to people who send excess solar-generated electricity into the power grid.

Vectren filed a proposal with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in which customers currently being credited up to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity would instead be credited about 3 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

The financial credit arrangements between utilities and customers, dubbed net metering, are being phased out in the state under a law signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2017.

Starting in 2022, the law ends net metering for new solar power installations in addition to permitting utilities to pursue an earlier end to credit arrangements through a process dubbed “excess distributed generation tariff” once certain conditions are met.

Vectren is the state’s first investor-owned utility to make the request. The company will balance out an arrangement in which most customers are subsidizing a smaller percentage of customers for generating solar power, officials said.

Spokeswoman Natalie Hedde noted that the request isn’t meant to dissuade customers from installing solar power.

If approved by regulators, Vectren customers who install solar power after Dec. 31 would be credited at the lower wholesale price plus an additional 25%.

Net metering advocates contend that the move would make it more difficult for customers hoping to install solar power on homes, businesses and schools to offset the expense and justify the investment.

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3 thoughts on “Vectren seeking to pay customers less for excess solar power

  1. Non solar customers are not subsidizing solar customers. That is BS. That is the ongoing company line from Vectern and others. The significant subsidy money is going to unprofitable coal mines, and ethanol and oil producers. Just another attempt to slow progress and hurt local solar jobs.

  2. it is disingenuous for Vectren to say they don’t wish to dissuade customers from investing in solar. Like other electric utilities, Vectren doesn’t like the nuisance of “little guys” serving as independent producers. They want to control solar on their terms: large-scale arrays they develop themselves. That’s where they can yield big profits for decades to come.

    Over a century ago, utilities were granted monopolistic ranges to provide public services in a regulated manner. Vectren got SE Indiana, NIPSCO got northern Indiana, IPL got Indy, etc. In exchange, the public was to receive good service at reasonable rates. But the utilities have legislators and IURC in their back pockets. They call the shots. The public gets screwed.

  3. Non solar customers are not subsidizing solar customers.

    Net metering allows a customer with their own power generation system to send power into the grid when their system overproduces and reclaim it when it underproduces. The typical customer overproduces in the summer months and underproduces in the winter months.

    The summer time self generated overproduction helps utilities manage their peak loads by reducing the need to fire up standby gas or coal fired plants and consequently charging all customers more money.

    The power generating customer always pays a monthly connection fee to the utility. Always.

    No money is given the power generating customer by the utility under any circumstances.

    The power generating customer receives credits when overproducing. Those credits can not be sold or bartered.

    If the customer moves or otherwise discontinues service at anytime, the credits are lost.

    The idea that non solar customers are subsidizing solar customers is a utility shareholder talking point with no basis in fact. Period.

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