Ameren Illinois filed a special permission tariff with the Illinois Commerce Commission Friday to help new rooftop solar customers maintain full compensation for the excess power they produce, should the commission determine a key net metering calculation should be changed.
Under Ameren Illinois' proposed changes for Rider NM – Net Metering, residential and small non-residential rooftop solar customers who complete construction of their generation after Oct. 1, 2020, will receive retroactive credits for their delivery charges in the event the ICC orders changes to the Net Metering Program. Ameren Illinois customers who completed their generation installations prior to Oct. 1 are continuing to receive full net metering benefits and are not affected by the proposed tariff.
"Unfortunately, the current regulations that were negotiated in 2017 by some of today's most vocal critics are confusing," said Richard J. Mark, chairman and president of Ameren Illinois. “As the net metering issue is under review, we want to reassure our new rooftop solar customers that they will receive the benefits allowed, as prescribed under the regulation. At the same time, it is important we also ensure key customer protections remain in place."
The current law includes a consumer safeguard which eliminates the delivery portion of the solar “net metering” credit for new customers once the total amount of electricity generated from solar meets or exceeds 5 percent of the Ameren Illinois peak demand. The threshold was met on Oct. 1. If approved, the tariff filed by Ameren Illinois today would give the company the ability to retroactively credit new net metering customers for the delivery and supply values if changes to the threshold calculation methodology are ordered by the ICC in future proceedings.
"Our position on net metering credits has not changed," Mark said. "The fact is, most Ameren Illinois customers don't know that they are paying subsidies to benefit other customers who can afford to install their own rooftop solar. That's why we will follow the law and keep advocating for an approach that is fair and equitable for all downstate customers."