Warren Buffett on net metering

Warren Buffett last week repeated to his shareholders the same explanation that his local functionaries have given for why he and his company leaned on Nevada regulators to hike financial costs for net metering customers in the Silver State.

“Ninety-nine percent of our consumers were being asked to subsidize the one percent that had solar units,” Buffett said. “I personally think that if society is the one that’s benefiting from the reduction of greenhouse gases, that society should pick up the tab.”

While that explanation has been widely repeated, an independent report commissioned by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission said net meterers are not being subsidized by other customers. Only a report by NV Energy—a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.—makes that claim.

Buffett’s comments came at a stockholders meeting of Berkshire, which owns NV Energy and 90 other businesses—energy, insurance, manufacturing, railroad, retail and other firms. He also said Berkshire can live with either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as president.

“If either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president, and one of them is very likely to be, I think Berkshire will continue to do fine,” he said.

Berkshire also did not join the growing list of corporations expressing their concern about climate change, including nine of the nation’s largest firms—such as Walmart and Goldman Sachs—that announced they are switching to renewables for all their power. Berkshire stockholders rejected a resolution calling on the corporation to report on the risks faced by its insurance companies as a result of climate change. Buffett declined entreaties that he take a stand against fossil fuels.

Amid the debate on net metering, the public relations specialists at NV Energy chose this week to announce the corporation is making low-cost renewable energy available—to large users.