WASHINGTON – Following calls from U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and 20 of their colleagues, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted unanimously to reject a petition by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) that would have upended states’ net metering programs. Net metering allows consumers and businesses who generate some or all of their own electricity, particularly through wind and solar energy technology, to be compensated for the excess energy that they provide to the electric grid and other customers.
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission made the right call by rejecting this senseless petition and preserving states’ ability to run their own net metering programs,” the senators said. “The petition, pushed by a shadowy group, could have undone 45 existing state policies and raised energy costs, undermining the renewable energy industry at a time when our economy is already so fragile amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In May, Senators Carper, Hassan, Heinrich, and Whitehouse led their colleagues in a letter urging FERC to preserve states’ net metering laws by rejecting NERA’s petition, which would have overturned long-held precedent and given the federal government decision-making power that has long belonged to the states. In their letter, the Senators also highlighted how little public information is available about NERA and raised concerns that their interests do not align with that of New England ratepayers.