Goldendale, WA, December 18, 2019 — After careful consideration, the Klickitat PUD Board of Commissioners has chosen to realign the KPUD net metering policy with the intent of state public policy and suspend implementation of an infrastructure fee. This means that Klickitat PUD will no longer collect infrastructure costs for net metered customers until the legislatively set cap of 4% or the year 2029 is reached. This change will require a public hearing process as it affects an approved electric rate. The public hearing process will determine several outstanding details and Klickitat PUD’s future path. Public hearings will be scheduled in the new year.
The board has been discussing key issues in-depth and re-evaluating the net metering policy for several months. The discussions have encompassed two distinct definitions of public policy: Local public policy, which is defined and administered by the KPUD board, and state public policy, which is defined and administered by the legislature. During this process, KPUD has been re-evaluating the net metering infrastructure fee and how it aligns with the broader intent of the net metering policy passed in Olympia. In addition, the KPUD board has been looking at the full benefit of the net metering program and the impact on efforts in Olympia.
In addition to actively pursuing renewable development and production, KPUD supports the net metering program and customer choice. Klickitat PUD continued to offer the net metering program even after meeting the required limits thereby allowing customers to continue to receive credit for self-generating their electric supply. When the state incentives were capped, KPUD placed the program on hold in order to re-evaluate it and determine if the program was sustainable. Staff concluded that changes were necessary to ensure that customers shared costs equally.
Klickitat PUD determined, in pubic sessions in early 2018, that there is a cost created to other customers and elected to pass those costs on to net metered customers through an infrastructure fee. The intent was that everyone pays their share of the costs of operating the electric system. Since that time, KPUD has listened to customers and had discussions with the Governor’s office and the group Solar Installers of Washington. All of these discussions reinforced that KPUD has the legal authority to assess the infrastructure fee. It also reinforced that the infrastructure fee was not well received by many.
Klickitat PUD has been a leader in renewable energy development and production for over twenty years. With the many initiatives regarding carbon and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that are beneficial to the utility, Klickitat PUD has supported renewable fuel and other legislation that positively impacts the utility’s customers. KPUD has also supported the broader clean energy initiatives of the state.
The realignment of KPUD’s net metering policy with the broader intent of the state’s policy provides Klickitat PUD customers with an increased opportunity to participate in renewable energy development and use.