(Lander, WY) – A bill that would change the net metering law for new customers narrowly passed the Senate this legislative session and is headed to the House for voting.
Net metering is a policy that allows renewable energy system owners to get credit for the extra power they add to the grid. This credit is reflected in lower electricity bills.
Lander Mayor Monte Richardson has voiced opposition to this bill, SF0016 – New net metering systems, sponsored by the Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Interim Committee.
“Rooftop solar, and in particular, the ability for city-owned facilities to offset energy cost through net metering, has been identified by our staff and community as an important way to reduce operational expenses and return taxpayer dollars back to our community,” Mayor Richardson stated in his opposition letter to Representatives.
If passed, this legislation would change how that compensation works by leaving it up to the Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) to “conduct public hearings and establish an appropriate system to regulate the rates, terms and conditions of customer‑generators by all electric utilities for electricity produced from net metering systems first operational on or after July 1, 2022.”
Mayor Richardson provided the following example in his letter of how the current net metering impacts the community:
“For example, the Lander Fire Station is a prime location. At current usage and current electricity costs, a rooftop solar system would yield a cost savings of just over $2,000 annually, for the life of the system of nearly 30 years. Once installed, there are virtually no system upkeep requirements. The $2,000 could be put towards our volunteer firefighters training, equipment needs, or put to other uses in the City.”
Mayor Richardson’s letter can be read in full here. Local organizations such as the Wyoming Outdoor Council and community members at the Lander City Council meeting this week voiced their support of the Mayor’s opposition.
The bill passed the Senate 16-13 in favor. Fremont County Representatives were split in the vote – Senators Cale Case and Ed Cooper voted in favor, whereas Senator Tim Salazar voted against.
Senator Cale Case responded to Mayor Richardson’s letter by sharing why passing the bill would benefit residents. Click here to read his response.