Customers Discuss Net Metering Policy with Utility Board


The majority of the October 23rd Utility Board meeting was spent meeting with about a dozen Lamar Light and Power customers who use solar power to help off-set the costs of their bills from the Light Plant.  Ryan Sneller addressed the board members with a general question from the group regarding the rate structure for reimbursement of the net metering policy.  Sneller stated, “We’re here with a question about the inconsistency I discovered of the plant’s net metering policy versus several other cities and what they do as well as the state policy.”  Sneller said, “It’s not a one for one basis for producing a kilowatt and using a kilowatt.  They should off-set each other.” Referring to his monthly bill, Sneller said the current policy takes all your production and funnels it to a bank where you get paid back five cents and you’re buying it at sixteen-something.”

Both Board Attorney, Don Steerman and Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, explained that the board policy is not exactly one for one and the payback for the sales of solar power to the grid is compiled with the customer receiving a balance check at the end of the year. The board is governed by the state net policy, pending the number of customers/meters in a service area, such as ARPA’s six municipalities.  Superintendent Hourieh explained each such hook-up has two meters, one measuring power into a house and one measuring the power going out.  A customer receives their bill for power consumed and the other meter records the accumulations of power going out onto the grid until the end of the year when the customer has the option of how to be reimbursed for their generated solar power.

Hourieh said the local and state policies are complex. Each customer who converts to solar power production at their residence is given the Light Plant’s policy covering their situation.  He added this is still new territory and a number of variables go into determining how the billing is regulated.

Hourieh detailed the September 2018 financial report for board members. Cash is up $351,144 from August and accounts receivable decreased by $55,902.  The total operating revenue for the month is $1,562,862 with operating costs of $1,036,212 resulting in gross operating income of $526,650.  When the non-operating revenues and expenses are factored, there is a net income for the month of $352,903.

Total operating revenues for the year are $12,166,548 and total operating costs are $9,749,950 for a gross operating income of $2,416,597. When the non-operating revenues and expenses are taken into consideration, there is a net income of $1,156,861 year to date.

When compared to 2017 revenues from retail sales are up approximately $570,660 or 5% comparing September 2018 to last year and overall operating expenses are up approximately $394,756 or 4% resulting in a net income of $1,156,861 for the year.

Hourieh said some recent upgrades to a breaker system which was installed in the 1960s will help provide system reliability to service areas in the northern half of Lamar. This includes the 25kv circuits that feed Holly, Hartman, Bristol, Wiley and McClave areas.

The board approved purchase orders totaling $138,820.79 and payment of bills totaling $934,813.56.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEnvironmentFeaturedUtilities


About the Author: