Clean Energy

Louisiana’s Renewable Energy Pilot Program

In 2010 the Louisiana Public Service Commission unanimously approved a Renewable Energy Pilot Program (REPP) that ordered utilities to conduct research, requests for proposals from the renewables industry, and submit reports to the commission on their viability. The main goal of the program was to gather information about the availability and economic feasibility of renewable resources in the state, and whether Louisiana should join the 32 other states and territories who have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). These standards are regulations that require increased production of renewable resources, generally with future goals of including greater percentages of renewables in their fuel mixes. In 2009, Commissioner Lambert Boissiere had requested the staff’s interest in Louisiana’s resource planning be “re-energized” after a 5 year conversation, beginning in 2004, about a potential RPS.

LPSC Adopts Voluntary Energy Efficiency Rule

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The Louisiana Public Service Commission on August 21 adopted a voluntary Energy Efficiency (EE) Rule. Adoption of the rule came over strong objection from two commissioners Clyde Holloway and Erik Skrmetta. Supporting votes came from Commissioners Foster Campbell and Lambert Boissiere. The key supporting vote was from Commissioner Scott Angelle who had put forward amendments to the EE rule which was adopted back in Dec 2012 but which had been put on hold pending further study. Commissioner Angelle’s idea this time was to adopt a voluntary rule and at the same time obtain verbal assurances in the commission meeting from representatives of CLECO, Entergy Louisiana, and SWEPCO that their companies would participate in the program.

LPSC again puts off a vote on the Energy Efficiency Rule

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Update on the Proposal to Gut the Energy Efficiency Rule: The Louisiana Public Service Commission today, July 31, 2013 again put off a vote to implement the Energy Efficiency (EE) rule that was adopted at their meeting of Dec 12, 2012. There are two Commissioners (Clyde Holloway and Erik Skrmetta) dead set against the EE rule and two strongly for it (Foster Campbell and Lambert Boissiere). The swing vote is Scott Angelle in commission District 2 who voted for the rule at a meeting in May 2013 only to make a motion to stay the implementation pending further study. He is now the guy who will determine which way the EE rule goes. Commissioner Angelle had before today’s meeting proposed a rule that would make participation by the utilities voluntary. We discussed this in our earlier posting about the LPSC Proposal to Gut the Energy Efficiency Rule. It was a technically weak proposal that did not go anywhere.

LPSC Proposal to Gut the Energy Efficiency Rule

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The battle with the Louisiana Public Service Commission over the proposed statewide energy efficiency rule continues with two Democrats staunchly for it, two Republicans dead set against it and newly elected Republican commissioner Scott Angelle playing a pivotal role in its outcome. The Commission back in December of 2012 adopted the statewide rule modeled after the Arkansas EE program, when former Commissioner Jimmy Fields was still on the Commission. In February new Commission chair Erik Skrmetta and Commissioner Clyde Holloway attempted to vacate the rule without hearing public comment. Sierra Club and our allies filed a lawsuit and the Commission decided to hear public comment on the rule in June. Three commissioners, including Scott Angelle voted in favor of the energy efficiency rule at the meeting on June 26 but decided to suspend implementation for a month. Now Commissioner Angelle, who was not involved in four years of work on the rules, is proposing changes that effectively neutralize the effectiveness of the rule

Advocates for Clean Energy Successfully Hold Off Attack from Hostile Commissioners

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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.

Louisiana Energy Efficiency Rules up for re-consideration June 26, 2013

Louisiana Energy Efficiency Rules up for re-consideration June 26, 2013 Statewide Energy Efficiency Rules are up for a vote in the Louisiana Public Service Commission meeting on June 26, 2013. You may remember that the rules were adopted by LPSC Dec 12, 2012 and reversed on Feb 27 during a meeting in which public comment was not allowed by the Commission Chair Eric Skrmetta. We challenged that in court and the lawsuit is currently pending. Mr. Skrmetta has agreed to re-hear the issue at the LPSC meeting planned for June 26, 2013.

Public Service Commission Vote on Net Metering Rule Postponed Again

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LPSC update, May 21, 2013 Public Service Commission Vote on Net Metering Rule Postponed Again

The Louisiana Public Service Commission met today, May 21, 2013 to vote on the Net Metering Rule as one of its agenda items. Once again, Commissioner Clyde Holloway was forced to postpone his proposal to reduce the rate that solar panel owners get for their produced electricity because he did not have three votes on the five member commission. This represents a victory for solar advocates and shows the results of our calls to commissioners asking them to leave the Net Metering Rule as it is. Thanks to all of you who made calls to commissioners, it worked !

Net-Metering in Louisiana Slated for Execution, Please Call the Commissioners

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Under current law in Louisiana and many other states, all energy generated by solar customers belongs to them. For every kWh they feed onto the grid they are entitled to a credit worth a kWh in return. At the end of the month the customer owes the utility the base customer charge plus whatever extra power they used over what they produced.

Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway has proposed a rule change which will force these customers to sell their power to the utility at a fraction of its value (wholesale cost $0.03-0.04/kWh). Then the Utility is allowed to sell that same energy to other customers at retail prices ($0.08/kWh). The Public Service Commission has never even done a cost/benefit analysis to show that such a reduction is justified. Such a drastic change in the rules could devastate the small but growing solar energy industry in Louisiana which now numbers over 200 installers and has created more than 1,000 jobs.

LPSC Considering Rollback of Incentives for Solar Panels on Homes

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The Louisiana Public Service Commission met Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in Baton Rouge and heard testimony on Net-Metering by solar installers and owners, utility representatives, PSC staff and others. Clyde Holloway, District 4 commissioner and proponent of changing the net-meter order, offered a motion but said he would delay a vote until the PSC meets May 21 in Baton Rouge. Here are highlights of his pending motion:

1) Reduce the rate of payment to net-metering customers to average avoided cost plus one cent per kilowatt-hour

Net-Metering in Louisiana Slated for Execution

Mary Shepp's home in Lafayette

This information comes to us from our friends at Alliance for Affordable Energy and is repeated here because of its importance to the future of the solar industry in Louisiana.

Unless we all step forward to defend it, Louisiana will be the 1st state to eliminate solar net-metering. Under current law in Louisiana (and every other state), all energy generated by solar customers belongs to them. Every kWh they feed onto the grid they are entitled to a credit worth a kWh in return. At the end of the month the customer owes the utility the base customer charge plus whatever extra power they used over what they produced.

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