Complaint also seeks determination that monies spent on advertising and lobbyists to push HB 227 cannot be recovered from ratepayers
In a formal complaint filed today, eight customers of LG&E/KU have asked the Public Service Commission to investigate whether the utilities’ advertisements and website misrepresent the facts, contain false or misleading statements, or make unsubstantiated claims regarding House Bill 227, a bill relating to solar net metering that is pending before the Kentucky Senate.
The complaint requests that the Commission determine whether LG&E/KU have used misleading and dishonest tactics in an effort to influence this legislation. The complaint states, “LG&E/KU’s claim that they are acting to ‘protect Kentuckians’ is questionable when the evidence suggests their real intention is to suppress competition, undermine their customer’s ability to reduce energy use and utility costs, and exert market control over solar energy.”
Nancy Givens, an LG&E net metering customer and one of the complainants, said, “They claim that Kentuckians need protection from net metering, but they have offered no evidence to back this up, while numerous studies in other states have found that net metering actually benefits all ratepayers.”
The complaint cites an analysis by Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council. FitzGerald found that the economic impact of net metering on LG&E and KU’s residential customers was at most 1 to 2 cents per year, and this analysis did not even factor in any of the benefits that net metering provides to the utility. “It would seem to be grossly misleading to portray a potential economic impact of 1 to 2 cents per year as a harm from which ratepayers require protection,” according to the complaint.
“Their claim that net metering customers are compensated at a rate three times higher than any other power is especially egregious,” states Wallace McMullen, Chair of Solar Over Louisville and an LG&E net metering customer. “Consider that KU has an optional time-of-use rate which charges customers 27 cents per kWh for power consumed on summer afternoons. This is also when solar production is highest. How can they claim net metering is valued three times higher than any other power if I’m getting credited 10 cents per kWh for my solar power at the same time KU is selling power to others for 27 cents per kWh?”
The complainants have asked the PSC to investigate these issues and, if it so finds, to direct LG&E/KU to cease using misleading or false statements in any media in relation to net metering legislation. They have also requested the PSC to determine the sources of and amounts of funds expended by LG&E/KU, associated with the campaign to enact HB 227, and determine that such expenditures cannot be recovered from nor be subsidized by ratepayers.