Honolulu, HI – Today, the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) filed suit in Hawaii state court challenging the Public Utilities Commission’s October 12, 2015 decision to end the state’s successful net energy metering program. The lawsuit alleges the PUC exceeded its statutory authority, violated state and federal law, and violated constitutional due process requirements.
“We’re acting on behalf of Hawaii residents like Marge Tam, who are denied the opportunity to install solar because of an unlawful and flawed decision,” said TASC spokesperson Bryan Miller. “The PUC decision goes far beyond anything proposed by even notoriously anti-solar Hawaiian Electric.”
“The PUC’s decision is neither fair nor justified,” said Miller. “Contrary to a law passed by the Hawaii Legislature two years ago, the PUC failed to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine the value of solar on the grid. Instead, the PUC relied upon speculation by the utility and ended net metering without notice to consumers.”
Marjorie Tam, a retired Grandmother, wanted to install solar like thousands of other people in Hawaii. “It disappoints me that I may be prevented from doing the economically and environmentally right thing by installing a solar system, particularly when this would greatly benefit my family into the next generation,” said Tam.
Similarly, Charles McAllister, a Hawaii-born Waianae resident, is frustrated because he’s being prevented from installing solar when his “neighbors and friends have been able to do so.” He adds “I don’t believe that’s fair.”
An independent analysis predicts the PUC’s decision will shut down Hawaii’s rooftop solar industry — a 90% reduction. This flies in the face of Governor Ige’s recent commitment to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045.
“The PUC’s decision is fatally flawed,” said Miller. “The PUC acted illegally and failed to hold a public hearing or give parties the opportunity to challenge the assertions the PUC relied upon. As a result, the decision is unworkable. By guaranteeing customers only two years worth of rates, they don’t know if a twenty year investment makes sense. The PUC should have given parties the opportunity to meaningfully test HECO’s assertions and conduct a study to understand the value of solar on the grid.”
The court is expected to schedule a hearing on TASC’s request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the PUC from implementing the decision. A copy of the Complaint can be found here.