The ECOreport looks into the decision on California’s solar rates, CPUC rejected net metering rate increases
By Roy L Hales
It has been two years since AB 327 brought the last conflict between California’s rooftop solar industry and the state utilities to an end. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was left to decide whether the utilities could impose demand charges, grid access charges, installed capacity fees, standby fees, or fees. A proposed ruling was made today. The CPUC rejected net metering rate increases.
Many hoped California’s net-metering war was ending two years ago, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 327. The state’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was given to the end of this year to create a new tariff that will kick in once the state’s big three investor owned utilities (PG&E, SCE and SDG&E) reach 5% nameplate generation capacity under net metering. With the deadline approaching, the “big three” went on the offensive. One of the California Public Utilities Commission hearings was in San Diego, on Oct. 28, 2015. That was where County Supervisor Dianne Jacob Defends Rooftop Solar.
News of Rooftop Solar’s most recent victory reached me on Friday, April 4. The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) issued a press release stating, “Fresh on the heels of recent ALEC defeats in Utah and Washington, the solar industry today declares victory in Kansas. Across the country, many utilities are attacking the solar industry (and the utilities’ own customers) by attempting to eliminate net metering.” Is that what the utilities have been trying to do? Continue reading What Really Happened in Kansas?→
Governor Brown has signed AB 327. Despite the initial solar vs utilities flare-up, the final version of AB 327 was something that most parties on both sides could agree on. One of the passages that many found offensive – authorization for the CPUC to approve a flat rate of up to $10 on all residential customers of California’s biggest utilities, regardless of whether they draw that much power from the grid – remains. The CPUC now has to determine a compensation structure for people whose solar feeds the grid and there are many who argue that the terms of their investments should not be changed mid-stream. Continue reading Governor Brown Signs AB 327→
There is an undeclared energy battle being waged in America. As installation costs drop, rooftop solar is spreading throughout the US and, while reducing the nation’s carbon footprint, it also cuts into corporate profits. Despite three resounding setbacks, utility companies are fighting to hold on to their monopolies. They are doing this by trying to limit net metering, the cornerstone policy that gives solar customers credit for the excess energy they put back on the grid. The Alliance of Solar Choice (TASC) says two of the hottest battles are currently being fought in Arizona and Colorado. This was America’s Net Metering War. Continue reading America’s Net Metering War→
A recent article in the San Diego Business Journal stated, “Many of the incentive programs that have helped California – and San Diego in particular – lead the nation in solar installation projects are quickly running out. Thanks to the stunning popularity of adding rooftop solar panels to homes and businesses, the incentive programs are being depleted of cash earlier than projected.” Three hundred and seventy-nine of San Diego’s businesses have taken advantage of California Solar Initiative (CSI) rebates to go solar, which makes San Diego County second only to LA in the total number of applicants. Yet, with the rebates drying up and the impact of Bill AB 327 still unknown, the author said there is a danger that “the solar rooftop market (could come) to a screeching halt.” This opinion is not shared by everyone in the industry. Continue reading What Does A Solar Future Without Rebates Look Like?→
In the waning hours of California’s legislative session, the state’s lawmakers have passed two solar bills, one that will change electric rate structures in California as well as remove the cap on net-metering, the other will allow Californians to purchase renewable energy from their energy utility. Continue reading California Legislature passes Solar Bills→
A group of Local elected officials, environmentalists and activists gathered on the steps of Sempra Energy’s headquarters, at 11:00 am, on Thursday. They came to protest Assembly Bill 327 (AB 327), which is backed by California’s investor-owned utilities, and were calling on the California Senate to change this bill so that it protects solar homeowners, the solar business, and schools. The group has launched a petition site (www.saveoursolar.com) which targets State Senators, urging them to kill the bill unless it is amended. SDG&E claims the present rate structure is not fair, some customers “pay 20 percent less than the cost to serve them, while customers in the top two tiers pay 50 percent more than their share.” Continue reading To Stop SDG&E From Charging Even More; The Protest At Sempra Energy→