SolarCity's AZ Utility Suit Puts Pressure on Others

Self-Generation Cos. Turn Up Antitrust Heat on Utilities
– Law360

Law360 interviewed Manatt's David Huard, co-chair of the firm's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources practice, for an article on SolarCity Corp.'s recent suit accusing an Arizona utility of imposing surcharges on rooftop solar in order to maintain its monopoly over retail electricity sales.

Law360 reports that the suit highlights a brewing nationwide antitrust battle as distributed generation increasingly encroaches on an electric grid long dominated by traditional utilities.

The suit is symptomatic of a larger ongoing battle between solar providers and utilities in which providers claim that utility regulators are adopting feed-in tariffs or other charges that are protective of utilities and discriminating against rooftop solar users, said Huard. Such litigation may force regulators to look at more details of the implementation and implications of what they've approved.

"It's going to put pressure on utilities to develop better rules, and regulators to better police the area as arguments over distributed generation proliferate," Huard said.

Read the article here