On February 1, the North Carolina Utilities Commission issued an Order on Duke Energy’s proposed Green Source Advantage (GSA) Program. It has been several months since the Commission heard Oral Arguments in relation to this docket and NCSEA encourages those in need of a refresher to visit our blog.
NCSEA has completed an initial review of the Commission’s ruling and has detailed our takeaways for the clean energy community below. NCSEA counts both wins and losses among the contents of the Order, but ultimately does not feel that the Order effectively addresses the needs of North Carolina businesses and solar developers and is thus insufficient. While we outline some of the key provisions below, we encourage interested readers to read the Order here and reach out to our Transformation Through Policy team with any questions.
One of the most contentious issues at hand was how to develop a bill credit that allowed participants of the program to receive financial certainty that their rates would be kept in check while participating in the program while still holding non-participating customers harmless. In NCSEA’s initial comments from February 2018, NCSEA argued that the proposed program would benefit non-participating customers, or in some cases, Duke Energy themselves. This goes against the provision of the legislation that requires that non-participating customers be held neutral from the impact of the GSA program.
In the final Order, the Commission rejected the position taken by NCSEA (described above), as well as positions taken by North Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance (NCCEBA), Google, Apple, the University of North Carolina System. Instead, the Commission approved two possible bill credits:
- The first, from the settlement that Duke Energy entered in with Walmart, offers what is essentially day-ahead pricing with a floating bill credit; and
- The second option that the Commission approved was Duke Energy’s proposal to have a five-year fixed rate bill credit based on the Commission determined avoided cost rate. This rate would be recalculated every five years.
NCSEA is disappointed in this ruling and the resulting lack of financial certainty that customers want, and we are awaiting Duke Energy’s compliance filing to determine next steps.
Though the loss on the bill credit provision is disappointing, there were a few provisions in the Order that NCSEA was pleased to see. These include:
- The Commission rejected Duke Energy’s proposal to integrate the GSA Program with the Competitive Procurement of Renewable Energy Program; and
- The Commission rejected Duke Energy’s proposal to limit the enrollment period.
Overall, NCSEA is not confident that the program approved by the Commission will sufficiently meet the needs of North Carolina businesses and solar developers.
Want to be the first to hear the latest updates from the Commission? Become an NCSEA member today.