LSU Journal of Energy Law and Resources


Solar net metering programs, which credit utility customers for excess electricity that their rooftop solar array sends onto the distribution grid, have helped to drive distributed solar energy development across the United States for more than a decade. In recent years, however, some utilities have sought to abruptly, or even retroactively, alter the terms of these programs in ways that harm solar-using retail customers. Utilities often try to justify such reforms as a means of sparing utilities from “stranded costs”—capital expenditures on centralized power plants or other infrastructure that are recovered more slowly than expected. Ironically, the rapid net metering reforms some utilities have proposed to help shield them from such stranded cost problems can impose the equivalent of stranded cost problems on rooftop solar-using customers and private rooftop solar companies. This Article highlights this “stranded costs double standard” and describes how state laws can better safeguard against it as utilities continue to seek to reform net metering programs in the coming years.