Colorado PUC Investigates $5 per Month Solar Charge

January 23, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

The Colorado Public Utility Commission (PUC) staff investigated and recommended that the PUC void Black Hills Energy’s attempt to charge its solar customers $5 per month. Black Hills Energy must respond to the investigation and the PUC may assess fines and require refunds to the companies’ customers within thirty days.

Western Resource Advocates raised the issue of a Black Hills Energy solar net metering tariff. WRA says such a net metering charge is contrary to existing commission rules, and was not reviewed or approved by the PUC as required by law. Colorado law prevents utilities from creating new solar rate classes that could unnecessarily deter the use of rooftop solar.

The staff of the commission recommended the PUC commissioners void the tariff and require Black Hills Energy to refund to customers the money they were surcharged. The commissioners approved a letter directing Black Hills Energy to “show cause,” and the utility must respond within 10 days.

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