Rate-setting is dish best served with patience. On April 29 staff at the Oregon Public Utility Commission submitted additional rate tables for the commission to consider when determining final prices for the state’s Pilot Solar Feed-in Tariff. The original deadline for FIT regulation had been April 1, 2010 but this got extended to July 1, 2010 over a conflict with Federal jurisdiction in setting rates above avoided cost. The Renewable Northwest Project and the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon have since asked the commission to reopen the rate-setting process and reassess the cost of solar photovoltaic installations. These groups reasoned that, “The Staff’s proposed VIRs are higher than needed to sustain a healthy solar industry in Oregon and risk igniting a backlash against solar programs that could negatively impact long-term solar market development.”
The amended rules for the feed-in tariff were filed on April 30 and the PUC will have 30 days in which to review the rules and to issue a final order recommending them. Utilities will then have until July 1 to prepare for the new program. Under House Bill 3690, which directed formation of the feed-in tariff program, only investor-owned utilities Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp and Idaho Power are required to participate in the program; however, others may participate.