Indiana is moving forward with plans to effectively end net metering in the state by 2047.
The Indiana House of Representatives voted 56-43 on April 4 to approve S.B. 309 and returned the legislation to the Senate, which approved the bill in late February, to consider the House's amendments.
S.B. 309 would create a tiered rate structure for customers that generate their own electricity. Residential customers and small businesses that have already installed solar panels or other renewable energy resources would still be compensated at the retail rate for their excess energy for another 30 years. Customers who install distributed generation within the next five years will receive retail rates for excess energy until 2032, with the incentive dropping to a 25% premium on the wholesale rate for those who install distributed generation after 2022.
The Indiana House Committee on Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications adopted amendments to the bill that impact the grandfathering of existing net metering customers. The amendments allow customers who install a system before the end of the year to be grandfathered under current rates, with the net metering tariff applied to the property, not the customer. The original language of the bill implements a July 1 deadline for grandfathering existing customers under current rates through 2047, with the tariff expiring earlier if the property changes hands.
Mark Maassel, president of the Indiana Energy Association, which represents the state's investor-owned utilities, spoke in favor of the bill at a House committee hearing in late March. "If we are talking economics," Maassel said, "the utility is being forced, under [current] net metering regulation, to pay for electricity at the retail price." He added that the retail rate of 11 cents per kWh is much higher than the wholesale rate currently at 3.5 cents per kWh.
"That difference is shifted to other customers and paid for by other customers," Maassel said.
Among the Indiana Energy Association's members are Duke Energy Corp. subsidiary Duke Energy Indiana LLC, AES Corp. subsidiary Indianapolis Power & Light Co., American Electric Power Co. Inc. utility Indiana Michigan Power Co. and NiSource Inc. utility Northern Indiana Public Service Co.