Letter Opposing the Request to Pause Collections for Clean Energy Programs

May 4, 2020

Hon. Michelle Phillips
Secretary to the Commission
New York State Public Service Commission
Empire State Plaza, Agency Building 3
Albany, NY 12223-1350

RE: Case 20-M-0187 – Petition of Multiple Intervenors Seeking Immediate, Material Rate Relief for Electric and Gas Customers, Including a Pause in Surcharges and Collections for Projects and Programs Delayed as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Secretary Phillips:

The Solar Energy Industries Association, Coalition for Community Solar Access, New York Solar Energy Industries Association and Vote Solar respectfully submit this letter in response to the petition filed by Multiple Intervenors (“MI”) on April 10, 2020 requesting the New York Public Service Commission (“Commission”) take various actions related to clean energy fund collections.

Our organizations strongly disagree with MI that it is appropriate to pause collections for New York’s clean energy programs and return uncommitted funds that have already been collected. In brief, New York’s current hiatus of renewable energy construction work will be limited in duration, and some construction work is likely to resume before the end of June.

We strongly oppose MI’s suggestion that uncommitted New York State Energy Research and Development (“NYSERDA”) funds be returned to customers. Funds collected to date are currently being used by NYSERDA and utilities to pay for ongoing programs—the exact programs and investments in clean energy companies that New York will need to restart the economy once full construction activity resumes.

We appreciate the Commission’s commitment to supporting clean energy during these difficult times. We recommend the Commission deny this petition. Maintaining the current collections will allow the clean energy industry to emerge from the current crisis as a foundation of economic prosperity in New York.

Respectfully submitted,

David Gahl
Senior Director of State Affairs, Northeast
Solar Energy Industries Association

Erika Niedowski
Northeast Director
Coalition for Community Solar Access

Shyam Mehta
Executive Director
New York Solar Energy Industries Association

Nathan Phelps
Regulatory Director
Vote Solar