Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission establishes rules for community solar companies

Published on October 04, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

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The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) adopted Tuesday rules to regulate the services of community solar companies.

The rules are the result of Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5939, which directed the UTC to establish such rules. Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB 5939 on June 30, 2017.

The rules established Tuesday include requirements for company registration, records keeping, reporting and consumer protection. They follow guidelines similar to the commission’s requirements for other regulated industries.

Under the new rules, company door-to-door sales personnel must pass criminal history background checks and must carry and display company-issued identification cards. Companies cannot release private consumer information without prior written permission from the consumer, and deposits paid by project participants must be kept in escrow or trust accounts and refunded with interest at the end of project participation. Additionally, companies must conduct annual meter tests and report meter accuracy to participants and must establish procedures for handling complaints from customers, project participants or applicants.

Consumers can confirm that a community solar company is registered by visiting the UTC’s website or contacting the UTC by phone or email.