Letter in Opposition - S.4514/A.6675

Letter in Opposition to Mylan Denerstein, Counsel to the Governor.

This letter is submitted by Energy Coalition New York in opposition to S.4514 (Maziarz) / A.6675 (Crespo), which is currently awaiting executive action. This bill would amend the New York State Public Service Law to prohibit a minimum load requirement for remote net metering.

Energy Coalition New York consists of New York State’s major gas and electric utility companies: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison, Inc., National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation, National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation. Coalition companies collectively employ more than 32,000 people, service more than 8.5 million customers and pay more than $3 billion in state and local taxes, assessments and fees. The member companies annually invest billions of dollars to make capital improvements to the electric and natural gas infrastructure located in New York State.

It is respectfully submitted that this legislation is not necessary based on a declaratory ruling on minimum load requirements for remote net metering issued by the New York State Public Service Commission (the “Commission”) on May 16, 2013. Case 13-E-0150 – Cornell University – Petition for Declaratory Ruling Concerning New York State Electric & Gas Corporation’s Remote Net Metering Tariff, Declaratory Ruling On Minimum Load Requirements For Remote Net Metering (May 16, 2013).

The Commission’s decision on its face applies to all major electric utilities and requires a bare minimum of load by stating in pertinent part that “…a load creating usage that would be sufficient to justify installation of a meter under a utility’s general tariff provisions, as if there were no generation output at a location, is adequate to support net metering there, because that meter will meet the statutory requirement that a net meter is one that measures usage.” Id. at 9. By requiring this very minimal amount of load, the Commission balanced the imposition of a cost on all other ratepayers, who are obligated to fund the net metering credits, against the benefits achieved through promoting additional renewable generation development. The Commission’s decision protects ratepayer interests while still being in complete accord with the objective of the subject legislation, which was apparently introduced prior to the Commission concluding its review in Case 13-E-0150.

This bill would broadly prohibit the Commission from placing “any restriction” on net metering based on a minimum load requirement. Its use of absolute language could have unintended consequences in the future. The Commission is the regulatory agency charged with interpreting the Public Service Law and it should retain the flexibility to interpret statutory provisions, adopt regulations and implement policy in light of particular fact patterns that emerge. There should be a sensitivity to imposition of any unnecessary limitations on the Commission and its professional staff that would hinder the Commission’s ability to protect the public interest.

Based on the foregoing, it is respectfully requested that the subject bill not receive favorable consideration.