Solar panels being installed atop a west Boise home.
Idaho's utility regulator, the Public Utilities Commission
, has ruled in favor of Idaho Power
's request to group those who have installed rooftop solar panels into a separate class of customers. Opponents had argued that the creation of a separate class for so called "net metering" consumers
—defined as customers "charged for the 'net' amount of energy they use each month, since their consumption can be offset or eliminated by exporting excess energy onto Idaho Power's system"—will have a deleterious effect on personal and commercial solar energy projects.
In an official news release from the PUC, commissioners said they had determined "that the differences in the electricity usage and load characteristics of Idaho Power customers with on-site generation and customers with standard electric services warrant the separation of the two groups."
The PUC has ordered the closure of Idaho Power's current net metering classification and the creation of two new classes of customers with on-site power generation: Residential and Small General Service. The Commission has also directed Idaho Power to launch a comprehensive study of the costs and benefits of net metering to Idaho Power's grid.
Idaho Power began its net metering program in 1983.