State regulators are partially unwinding what they had hoped was a solution to inequities in the way solar power users are compensated for excess electricity they supply to the grid.
Last year, after several legislative attempts to reform the state’s solar rules were stymied by Gov. Paul LePage, the Maine Public Utilities Commission imposed a new way to measure the value of solar power called “gross metering.”
It required all electricity consumers to pay for extra metering equipment at new solar projects. Those meters were used to measure the solar panels’ entire output — and then to charge a fee — even on power that was used on site and not sent to the grid.
Commissioners believed that would lower costs that are passed along to ratepayers when a solar project is added to the system.
Instead, in the first year at least, the cost of the new equipment for