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Commission Lays Groundwork For Implementing Controversial Kentucky Solar Bill

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has outlined how it plans to handle its new role in approving reimbursement rates for solar customers who feed excess electricity back into the grid. 

Credit AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File

The PSC has been taking comments on controversial new legislation passed this year, which is set to go into effect January 1, 2020. 

At issue is what’s known as “net metering,” or the process used to compensate customers who sell their surplus solar power back to utilities. Currently, that rate is equal to the power supplied to the system. Under the law, new solar-generating customers who sign up next year will be paid rates that are approved by the PSC.

Power companies had argued the current reimbursement rate is unfair because it doesn't take into account the cost of setting up and maintaining the electricity grid.

The framework released Wednesday suggests regulators will not opt for a blanket rate among all utilities, but will instead consider specific costs associated with each provider. The PSC says the goal is to “ensure just, fair, and reasonable rates” for solar and non-solar customers alike.

To develop a process for identifying expected costs and benefits, the commission plans to bring in an outside, independent counsel.

While current net metering customers are ensured their current rates for the next 25 years, solar advocates worry the changes could deal a serious blow to the alternative energy industry in the commonwealth.

Copyright 2019 WUKY

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now known as Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and Program Director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.