The filing appeals the Public Utilities Commission’s new solar rules in the wake of a failed legislative effort to sustain incentives.
Groups opposed to Maine’s amended solar rules have joined in a brief challenging the authority and actions of the Public Utilities Commission.
The Conservation Law Foundation, ReVision Energy, Industrial Energy Consumer Group and Natural Resources Council of Maine, filed a brief Tuesday in the appeal at the Maine Supreme Court challenging the PUC’s amended solar rule, which phases out certain incentives for homeowners and businesses that install rooftop solar arrays. The brief was filed 12 days after the Maine Legislature failed to override a veto from Gov. Paul LePage on a bill that would have continued the incentives and direct the PUC to study the costs and benefits of solar.
“The new rule penalizes homeowners and businesses that generate solar energy, hampering our opportunities to increase energy independence, reduce electricity costs and support one of the fastest growing sectors in Maine’s economy,” said CLF Executive Vice President Sean Mahoney in a release announcing the filing. “This LePage-appointed commission wants us to believe that charging Mainers for the energy we generate in our own homes is just and fair, but we’re not falling for it. If this rule remains on the books, it will undermine state policy and threaten an industry already providing hundreds of good jobs across our state.”
The filing contends that the PUC has imposed unlawful charges on energy generated and consumed behind the meter, exceeded its statutory authority, relied on unsubstantiated claims, and failed to provide an adequate economic assessment in developing its new net-metering rule, among other things, according to the release.
A PUC spokesman has said previously the commission does not comment on pending litigation.