There’s a reason to celebrate in Kentucky! And it’s not because of horses or basketball. In early 2019, a bill was introduced to the Kentucky Senate to redefine “net metering” and allow the ratemaking process to be initiated by the retail electric supplier, aka your utility company. This bill was passed and went into effect on January 1, 2020; luckily, the utility companies did not pursue any action until January of this year.
Since then we have been waiting to see what actions the utility companies take and what the Public Service Commission (PSC) verdict is, and so far, it’s looking pretty good for residents of Kentucky looking to go solar. Until that bill was passed, Kentucky was a full net metering state. Net metering is a billing arrangement where customers who produce their own electricity can receive a credit on their electric utility bills for any extra electricity produced by the customer that flows back onto the utility’s electric grid.
Prior to the law change, your utility company had to buy back any excess electricity at the same retail rate, or dollar-for-dollar, what they charge you per kilowatt-hour (kwh). These credits are what help offset your nighttime electric usage as a solar customer because your system will overproduce electricity during the day when the sun is out. The updated law allows your utility company to initiate the rate case, and decide how much they want to compensate solar customers for producing electricity and sending it back to the grid (if approved by the Public Service Commission).
Upon the announcement of the KU/LG&E rate case on June 30th, we were informed that none of the KY co-ops or Duke Energy filed for a rate change and will continue their current metering policies. If you are a resident of Kentucky with Kentucky Power, or Kentucky Utilities (KU) / Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E), those utility companies did file rate cases – however, we remain hopeful this bill will not impact future solar customers too much and not at all if you include a home battery with your solar array!
KY Power was the first utility company to file for a rate case in January of 2021. In May of 2021 the Public Service Commission announced that the proposed rate was found not to be fair and needed to be adjusted, setting a precedent for other net metering cases moving forward. The Commission instead set the utility’s residential metering rate so it’s fair and just, giving residents of Kentucky a promising future with clean, solar energy.
In regards to KU/LG&E, the PSC announced on June 30th, that they were “deferring a decision on the companies’ proposed changes to their net metering tariffs so that additional information can be entered into the case record to ensure the export compensation rate for energy supplied to the grid is fair, just and reasonable.” They also stated “sufficient evidence was not provided by the companies nor by the intervening parties to support an export rate that differs from the existing one-to-one rate.” The PSC will have a hearing in late September to decide on a fair and just rate, but until then, LG&E/KU have opted to not implement their new rates until the order is complete.
This means that KU/LG&E customers have 3 more months to get grandfathered in for 25 years of full net metering. The Commission noted that “many of the needs identified by the companies in their plans to invest millions of dollars in distribution system upgrades could be addressed by distributed energy resources, such as roof-top solar.”
A great day for solar in Kentucky! Are you interested in seeing if your home could be a good fit for solar? Let’s talk. Our solar experts are trained, knowledgeable, and ready to help you save money by making the switch to solar.
For additional information about the law change, visit psc.ky.gov.