Advocates for Clean Energy Successfully Hold Off Attack from Hostile Commissioners

Mary Shepp's home in Lafayette

The LPSC on Wednesday, June 26 had a marathon session during which two items were considered that are of great interest to Clean Energy advocates.

The Energy Efficiency Rule (EE Rule) - The EE rules were adopted by LPSC Dec 12, 2012 but were reversed on Feb 27, 2013 during a meeting in which public comment was not allowed by Commission Chair Eric Skrmetta. We filed a legal challenge and the Commission Chair agreed to re-hear the issue at the meeting of June 26. Alliance for Affordable Energy and Sierra Club did a great job of turning out supportive testimony from a number of different stakeholder groups. A key presentation came from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy which had studied the potential for EE in Louisiana.

Commissioners Clyde Holloway and Chair, Eric Skrmetta were again dead set against the EE rule. Commissioners Foster Campbell and Lambert Boissiere were again supportive. The swing vote of Scott Angelle went our way this time but not all the way. His successful motion was to leave the EE rules in place but to suspend their implementation for a month while he and the Commission further study the issue. They agreed to accept written public comments until July 15. So we will all be back at the Commission meeting again on July 31 to continue support for full implementation of the EE rule.

The Net Metering Rule - Another agenda item was Commissioner Holloway’s push to cut way back on the amount paid to the owner of a residential solar installation for electricity sold back to the utility. This transaction takes place under the Net Metering Rule and directly affects the payback on a homeowner’s investment in solar. This again has been a drawn out battle having been a top subject of discussion in each of the last three monthly LPSC meetings. For the third time Commissioner Holloway could not get the total three votes required. Again it was he and Commissioner Skrmetta waging a battle against solar but they failed to persuade new Commissioner Scott Angelle and the net metering rule stays in place as is. But in a last ditch effort at the end of the day, Holloway made a motion and got a vote to limit solar installations on any one regulated utility to 0.5% of their electric production. This will not limit the pace of solar installations for now but we will have to see if this stands up and how this gets interpreted.

So bottom line is a pretty good day for solar, withstanding determined attack, and coming out with our Energy Efficiency rule still standing but with implementation suspended; and the Net Metering rule intact. We thank everyone who has helped in a big way by making calls to the offices of the commissioners to voice your support for the EE rule and for leaving the Net Metering rule intact. Many people are also showing up at the commission meetings to show support and give public comments. All of our efforts have paid off by letting the commission know that there is a substantial public interest in seeing Louisiana move out of the dark ages of energy production. Unfortunately we have to ask you to continue calling commissioners in order to keep the pressure on until these issues are decided.

You can see the background story on these issues by reading previous posts on this site.

Phone numbers for Commissioners are:

Cmr. Skrmetta (District 1): 504-846-6930 Cmr. Angelle (District 2): 225-342-6900 Cmr. Boissiere (District 3): 504-680-9529 Cmr. Holloway (District 4): 318-748-4715 Cmr.Campbell (District 5): 318-676-7464

Thank you, Haywood (Woody) Martin

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