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LETTER: Time PUC enacted buy-back regulations

To the Editor:

Will the state Public Utilities Commission take the initiative and allow fair and equal buyback rates for distributed generation of power? The EPA has proposed a 35 percent cut in the carbon pollution for South Dakota power plants. EPA’s proposal puts states in control, allowing them to decide how to best employ various options to reduce carbon emissions.

The state of South Dakota is one of only four states nationwide which does not require net-metering, i.e., requiring fair and equal buy-back rates for small-scale electricity producers who utilize solar panels on their roof or wind turbines on their land. Fair buy-back would increase the incentive to install alternative systems. An increase in these alternative systems would help the state to reduce its carbon footprint and even remove some of that burden off of the utility companies. By permitting net-metering, no new technologies would have to be developed; existing technology would fill the bill quite well. It’s time that the PUC enacted regulations to require fair buy-back of distributed power by the investor owned utilities and the state’s cooperatives.