Vectren seeking to pay less for excess solar power

By The Associated Press

EVANSVILLE — 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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