N.C. Utilities Commission issues order on payments to independent renewable power producers

State regulators overseeing electric utilities issued an order yesterday that will help shape the North Carolina renewable energy market. (© iStock)

The North Carolina Utilities Commission issued an order late yesterday in a case about the rates state monopoly electric utilities must pay when they buy power from independent power producers, such as solar companies. The commission had already rejected earlier changes proposed by Duke Energy and Dominion, and recognized that independent power producers have a right to fair rates and contracts when they sell power to the state’s electric utilities.

In yesterday’s order, the Commission required the utilities to file revised rates and contract proposals within 30 days.

“Thanks to the Utilities Commission’s ruling, the outlook for renewable energy in North Carolina remains sunny. The rates and standard contract terms required by the Commission will allow independent power producers a fair opportunity to keep selling clean, renewable power to our State’s electric utilities, creating jobs and allowing utilities to pass on the benefits of cost-effective renewable energy to their customers,” said Attorney Gudrun Thompson.

Federal law requires electric utilities to purchase power from certain independent renewable energy producers at the cost the utility avoids by not having to generate that electricity with conventional power plants. Yesterday’s order came out of the commission’s regular review of the rates and standard contracts utilities must offer those producers.

SELC represented the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in the commission proceedings.

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