NV Energy, the Nevada utility benefiting most from recent net metering changes made by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, will now be a defendant in a class-action lawsuit filed by two individual PV system owners.
The two plaintiffs, John Bamforth and Stanley Schone, argue that they would never have invested in their PV systems had they known Nevada’s net metering program would be scaled back as dramatically as it has been since December 23, 2015.
At the end of 2015 the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (NPUC) voted in favor of a plan reducing payments made by NV Energy under its net metering program.
The decision has not only caused outrage among more than 16,000 residential solar system owners in the state, it spurred the well-covered employee layoffs and departure of leading US installers SolarCity and Sunrun. The departure of these two companies followed an August exit of Vivint Solar.
As reported by the Las Vegas Sun, the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, alleges NV Energy, which is regulated by the NPUC, gave the three-member panel false or incomplete information as it considered the new rates.
PV Tech writes, the class-action lawsuit alleges NV Energy conspired to “unlawfully reduce the incentives provided via the Solar Program, increasing base rates or service charges only for solar customers in order to reduce competition and increase their own revenues.”
It said the two plaintiffs were seeking fiscal compensation because they had invested in “expensive solar power systems that do not provide the promised rebates, discounts and rates.”
According to Las Vegas Sun reporter Daniel Rothberg, a number of groups, including the state’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, which represents ratepayers in matters before the commission, are asking the panel to revisit its decision.
This class-action lawsuit stands as the first attempt to challenge the NPUC decision in court.