Montana regulators vote to cut PURPA payment rates by 40%
A combination of falling solar panel prices and high PURPA payments has attracted a rush of solar development to Montana — as well as utility complaints that they are forced to overpay for power under the 1970s-era law.
Last December, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that Montana regulators acted improperly when they suspended payments to solar facilities under PURPA. However, FERC declined to take further action on the issue, sending it back to the state PSC.
NorthWestern had received a total of 97 requests for solar hookups in the year and a half before the PSC suspended PURPA payments. After the suspension, the number of requests fell to 10.
PSC Commissioner Tony O’Donnell said the revised PURPA rates will force solar developers to operate more like businesses in a free market. Solar advocates say the cuts give Montana the lowest rates in the region, and cause developers to defect to neighboring Western states such as Idaho and Wyoming.
Read full article at Utility Dive