This legislation would have had the practical effect of stymying – if not killing – the growth of rooftop solar in West Virginia.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed legislation, HB 2201, which could have jeopardized the future of rooftop solar in the state by rewriting West Virginia's net-metering policies. In announcing his decision, the Governor said the bill contained technical errors.
"We applaud Gov. Tomblin for doing the right thing," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which strongly opposed the legislation. "This bill was fatally flawed. Did it end up that way for political reasons? Or was it a case of sloppy drafting? Whichever the case, Gov. Tomblin did the right thing by vetoing the bill and sending it back to the drawing board."
Worst of all, Resch added, the legislation failed to protect hundreds of families, businesses and churches that have already installed solar from being hit with unfair charges. "It's neither logical nor fair to rewrite ratemaking rules for one set of customers or one policy initiative, while ignoring similar effects of other rates and policies.
"SEIA doesn't object to investigating the costs and benefits of net energy metering, but we do object to the assumption that any potential cost shift from a net metering customer to other customers is unjustified. Retail utility rates often include cost shifts that functionally serve as inter-class and intra-class cross-subsidies. These cost shifts are justified on a variety of rationales, both practical and policy-driven. Unfortunately, this legislation would have had the practical effect of stymying – if not killing – the growth of rooftop solar in West Virginia.
"I would like to thank all of our SEIA members, allies and supporters who contacted the Governor's office in opposition to this ill-advised legislation."