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SZ Enterprises v. Iowa Utilities Board

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20155
Nos. 13-0642, (Iowa, 07/11/2014)

The Iowa Supreme Court held that a solar energy company is not a public utility under state law. The case arose after a city sought to enter into a prospective purchaser agreement with the company to supply a portion of the city's electricity needs at certain city premises. On the company's petition for a declaratory order, the state utilities board ruled that the company would be a public utility and therefore would be prohibited from selling solar power to the city under the agreement. But because the company will not furnish electricity "to the public," it does not meet the definition of a "public utility" under Iowa Code §476.1. Nor is it an "electric utility" as defined in the applicable regulations. As such, it is not prohibited from serving, offering to serve, or constructing facilities to serve city premises that are located in a power company's exclusive electric service territory. The court, therefore, affirmed the lower court decision