Solar customer Mike Mullett shares 10 Facts for state legislators

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   February 04, 2017  /   Posted in 2017 Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Net Metering, solar, Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Mike Mullett's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person

 

SB 309/HB 1188: Ten Facts I Would Like My Elected Representatives To Know

Below are ten facts which I consider to be relevant and significant to your consideration of SB 309 (as well as the identical HB 1188), colloquially known as the Monopoly Utility Protection Act of 2017, listed sequentially but not necessarily in order of priority:
    1.  There is no Indiana study which has been conducted to date by the IURC or any another independent entity which supports the Indiana Energy Association contention that Indiana Solar Net Metering customers are being "subsidized" by other customers.
    2.  The vast majority of studies conducted to date by regulatory commissions or other independent entities in other states have concluded that the generation produced by Solar Net Metering customers has benefits to the utility system on which it is produced equal to or greater than its cost to that system.  See, e.g., https://www.brookings.edu/research/rooftop-solar-net-metering-is-a-net-benefit/ .
    3.  Electricity follows the laws of physics, not the laws of man.  In this context, it is critical to understand that :
    a.  Solar Net Metering customers are virtually all interconnected to the Distribution and NOT the Transmission system of their host utilities;
    b.  The electricity generated by Solar Net Metering customers never leaves their own home or business until it exceeds their own load;
    c.   The electricity generated by Solar Net Metering customers who are interconnected to their utility's Distribution System which exceeds their own load never leaves the Distribution System in the immediate vicinity of their own home or business;
    d.   The electricity generated by Solar Net Metering customers is generated only during daylight hours, with the maximum generation occurring on the longest, clearest days during the time the sun is most directly facing their solar panels;
    e.    The value of electricity is typically greatest when a utility's load is highest, which is typically summer rather than winter, weekdays rather than weekends, daytime rather than nighttime, late afternoon rather than early morning; and
    f.     Matching the curve of a Residential Solar Net Metering Customer's generation with his/her/their consumption shows a significant "overlap" between the two curves, with all of the generation in excess of the consumption occurring during the day and most of it occurring in the late morning and early afternoon during the months of May through October, while most of the excess  consumption over generation occurs during the nighttime or the early morning, especially during the months of November through April;
    g.    Solar Net Metering Customers must size their PV systems per IURC rule such that the projected generation does not materially exceed their projected consumption over the course of a year; and
    h.    Some Net Metering Customers size their PV systems to be "Net Zero" customers, that is for their generation to offset completely their consumption over the course of the year; such customers will accrue kwh credits for excess generation in some billing periods which will "carry over" to later billing periods to offset on a kwh-for-kwh (NOT dollar-for-dollar) basis during which they have excess consumption;
    i.   Other Solar Net Metering Customers size their PV systems to maximize their generation without exceeding their consumption during any billing period; such customers will NOT accrue any billing credits to "carry over" to later billing periods; and
    j.    My wife and I are among this latter group of Solar Net Metering Customers; although we have had solar panels since September 2010, we have NEVER generated any kwh billing credits to "carry over" from one billing period to a later one.
    (Sorry but the technical details DO matter in evaluating whether Solar Net Metering customers are bearing their "fair share" of utility system costs and anyone "bored" with those details should NOT be deciding that issue!!)
    4.  Solar Net Customers invest large amounts of their own money in their Solar PV systems in order to generate electricity to offset their own consumption, in whole or substantial part; only 30% of that investment is offset by the federal tax credit; in my wife's and my case, that "net" investment is approximately $26,000.
    5.  These large investments of their own funds provide Solar Net Metering customers with "investment-backed expectations" (i.e., a "property right") in the use of the electricity produced by that investment, especially but not exclusively in offsetting their own consumption of electricity.
    6.  These "investment-backed expectations" and "property rights" of Solar Net Metering Customers are afforded protection by the U.S. and Indiana Constitutions against "takings" by acts of government without "due process" and "just compensation."
    7.   In its current form, SB 309 plainly and blatantly disregards the "investment-backed expectations" and infringes on the "property rights" of Solar Net Metering customers (i.e., proposes "takings") without affording them either "due process" or "just compensation," especially but not exclusively with respect to the electricity they generate for their own consumption.
    8.   Due to the personal economic and environmental goals served by self-generation of solar power by Solar Net Metering customers, in its current form, SB 309 also plainly and blatantly disregards their constitutionally-protected "freedom of choice" and "liberty interests" with respect to managing their own energy usage and environmental impacts, especially but not exclusively with respect to the electricity they generate for their own consumption.
    9.   Thus, in its current form, SB 309 should violate The Conscience of A (True) Conservative.  See the book of the same name by the late, great Senator Barry Goldwater (who was the first candidate for President of the United States for whom I actively campaigned in 1964); if you can't find your copy of the book, I will be glad to lend you my own aging, dog-eared, heavily underlined copy!  Better yet, see what his son, the living, former Congressman Barry Goldwater,, Jr, is saying these days on behalf of rooftop solar at http://dontkillsolar.com/tusk/ :

Our Chairman, Barry Goldwater Jr.

As a son of Arizona, I know we have no greater resource than the sun. Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice and the competition to drive down rates.That choice may mean they save money, and with solar that is the case. Solar companies have a track record of aggressively reducing costs in America. We can't let solar energy - and all its advantages and benefits it provides us - be pushed aside by monopolies wanting to limit energy choice. That's not the conservative way and it's not the American way. 

Barry Goldwater Jr.,
Former US Congressman

Barry Goldwater Jr Signature

    10.  Thus, SB 309, if enacted in its current form, will inevitably and justifiably engender widespread public controversy and high profile litigation to vindicate the "investment-backed expectations," "property rights," "freedom of choice" and "liberty interests" of current as well as prospective Solar Net Metering Customers, many of whom will self-identify as Conservatives and Republicans.
    As always, thank you for your consideration of my views on these important matters of public policy to which I have devoted most of my adult life.
                                                                                                Mike Mullett
Michael A. Mullett
723 Lafayette Avenue
Columbus, IN 47201
Phone: (812) 376-0734
Fax: (812) 376-0734
E-Mail: MullettGEN@aol.com

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