VICTORY: New Mexico terminates punitive charge on solar customers

By Rick Gilliam | Vote Solar

Commission reopens opportunity to expand solar access, reduce bills by ending SPS’s longstanding fee on solar customers

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) Wednesday ordered Southwestern Public Service (SPS) to terminate Rate 59, a fee on solar customers that cost typical households with rooftop solar more than $300 a year. Since 2011, Rate 59 has limited SPS customers’ ability to save money on their utility bills with solar energy, even as the cost of solar has plummeted in that period, and as a result there are only around 112 households with solar in SPS’s New Mexico service area today. The PRC also plans to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to clarify how the state statute pertaining to solar surcharges will be interpreted in the future.

Rooftop solar panels installation and jobs

“Today’s decision is a victory for SPS customers who finally have the freedom to choose affordable solar and the opportunity to save money on their electric bill. Ending this punitive charge is especially welcome news for low-income and fixed-income residents who spend a higher portion of their income on utility bills, yet for years were unable to lower their bills with solar because of this charge,” said Rick Gilliam, Vote Solar’s program director of DG regulatory policy and expert witness in the proceeding. “We applaud Hearing Examiner Carolyn Glick and the Commission for reviewing the facts and putting control over energy bills back in the hands of New Mexico residents.”

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