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Idaho Regulators Create Divide Between Solar And Traditional Energy Customers

Liralen Li
Flickr Creative Commons

People who have solar panels on their homes are different from typical Idaho Power customers. That’s according to a new ruling by Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission, which could cost more money for those embracing renewable energy in the future.

Idaho Power asked state regulators to reclassify customers who generate power for the grid differently than other consumers, saying they cost more to serve. That includes people who own solar panels or wind turbines.

About 1,500 of Idaho Power's 535,000 customers could be affected.

Solar panel owners could face higher bills from Idaho Power down the road under the move.

Renewable energy advocates worry that the change will discourage homeowners from installing solar panels and could hurt the solar industry in the state.

But solar panel owners won’t see a hike on their utility bills yet—Idaho Power now plans to discuss the costs and benefits of renewable generators with community members. Any rate changes for solar generators would come after that.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.

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