On July 2014, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission issued a clarifying statement on its role in regulating 3rd party owned net metered solar installations. The following synopsis was preceded their finding in Docket.
"Synopsis. In this policy and interpretive statement, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (Commission) discusses its jurisdiction to regulate third-party owners of net metering facilities as public service companies, and consumer protection issues surrounding such business relationships. The Commission’s investigation into third-party ownership began with a study of distributed generation in early 2011, continued through the amendment of rules governing interconnection of electric generation facilities in 2013, and continued with discussions in the 2014 legislative session. In this interpretive statement, the Commission concludes that determination of whether or not a third party owner of net metering facilities is subject to Commission jurisdiction is substantially a fact-dependent determination. Weighing relevant factors articulated by Washington courts, it appears that in most cases third-party owners would be subject to Commission jurisdiction as a utility. However, in order to provide greater certainty, the Commission recommends that the Legislature clarify the Commission’s jurisdiction to regulate third-party owners of net metering facilities."
The statement is non-binding on the commission and it clearly hopes that the Washington Legislature will pass clarifying statutory language on the issue. That said, the WUTC seems to want to limited regulatory oversight mostly related to consumer protection and safety, not pricing or rate of return regulatory authority.