It should come as no surprise that the power companies have undue power in Arkansas. They want a poison-spewing coal-fired plant, they get ‘it. Extraordinary rates? We got ’em. Little pressure to adopt energy-wise polices? Of course.

The subject today (thanks, Pat) is net metering. It’s complicated, but the simple explanation is that some states have made it easier for homes and businesses to generate electricity and to get credit from power companies to put their excess capacity into the grid. In time, this reduces the need for new, expensive power plants.

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Here’s a snippet from a blog item on a Stateline.org report on states’ progress in encouraging net metering. Arkansas sucks.

The NNEC report awarded states a letter grade, “A” through “F,” on the effectiveness of their programs. Indiana and Arkansas have the worst net-metering practices, the report said, attributing it to power companies wresting too much control over the net-metering legislation in both states. Indiana’s law sets a low cap on how much electricity individual customers may produce, and Arkansas’ law creates severe financial disincentives for people to participate. Both states got an “F,” as did Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.

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A little thing, in the scheme of things, but little things add up. The longer stateline report is here. Also, Warwick Sabin wrote about this very topic for us in early 2007, when the state had an opportunity to do something about an earlier “F” grade. You know what happened.