One of IREC’s more significant success stories of 2010 was the West Virginia Public Service Commission’s adoption of interconnection standards based on IREC’s Model Interconnection Rules.
In June 2010, the Commission issued an order adopting “Rules Governing Electric Utility Net Metering Arrangements and Interconnections,” which ultimately helped West Virginia score a “B” in the 2010 edition of Freeing the Grid, a policy guide that grades states on two key program areas: net metering and interconnection procedures. Freeing the Grid is produced annually by the Network for New Energy Choices in partnership with Vote Solar, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc., and the North Carolina Solar Center.
In September, the Commission noticed an omission in the rules and opened an investigation to correct the error. In December 2010, the Commission proposed adoption of Article 6 of IREC’s Model Rules in its entirety. Both IREC and PSC staff filed comments.
“IREC’s comments supported the complete adoption of Article 6 of its Model Interconnection Rule,” said Kevin Fox, Partner, Keyes & Fox, and lead attorney for the case, while the PSC staff urged only partial adoption, excluding provisions on limitation of liability, consequential damages and indemnity to avoid potential conflicts between the PSC and state courts on contractual issues and award of damages.
In a surprise ruling, the PSC stated that it was persuaded to reach its decision based on IREC’s comments and dismissed concerns that it would be called on to encroach on the domain of state courts to enforce contractual provisions and award damages. According to Fox, the PSC’s decision to adopt all of Article 6 will provide parties more certainty about respective rights and obligations.
“Although the revisions to the rules are relatively minor, it is important and noteworthy to see IREC’s continuing impact in West Virginia,” said Fox. Thad Culley headed up work for IREC on this issue.
The final rules will be effective July 18, 2011.
For more information, contact Thad Culley: firstname.lastname@example.org.