California protects homeowners from bill increase for solar power systems

Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 08:01 AM
posted by rene5432

The California Public Utilities Commission rejected a new rate proposal plan from southern California utility company San Diego Gas & Electric Co. that could have hit homes with solar power systems hard, according to the North County Times.

As it stands, SDG&E's customers receive a bill that covers only the electricity they use itself. The utility company had proposed, however, separating out certain parts of the bill, charging one amount for electricity and another for the simple fact of using the utility's services.

"The current net energy metering structure can easily result in many customers who have rooftop solar paying no bill at all, yet having access to all of the reliability, storage and access features of the grid," Lee Schavrien, senior vice president of finance, regulatory and legislative affairs for SDG&E, said in a statement. "This is a situation that is not sustainable and requires a broad set of stakeholders to collaborate on a fair and effective solution."

But the state's regulatory agency felt different, rejecting SDG&E's plan and reasserting that the utility must not create rules that would specifically target residents with solar power installations.

CaliforniaSolarStatistics.org reports that the state now has more than 107,000 solar projects in the state with more than 1 gigawatt of installed capacity.

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