CPUC Rejects Net Metering Rate Increases
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. In their proposed ruling today, the CPUC rejects net metering rate increases.
Neither Southern California Edison (SCE) or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) demonstrated that their proposed fees were reasonable in light of the Commission’s prior determinations about the timing of potential fixed charges for residential customers.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was not able to show that customers “would understand its proposed demand charges.”[1. DECISION ADOPTING SUCCESSOR TO NET ENERGY METERING TARIFF, Public Utilities Commission, p 115]
If the proposed decision goes forward, the present rate structure will remain in effect until 2018 and a new tariff rate will be reviewed in 2019. [2. ibid, p 122]
Mixed Responses To the Proposed Decision
There were mixed responses to the proposed decision.
“Sierra Club is glad to see the proposed decision reject utility proposals to gut rooftop solar and maintain a net metering structure free from punitive fees. A strong rooftop solar policy is essential to California’s efforts to address climate change and create an increasingly resilient and distributed grid. The decision’s move toward time of use electricity rates is an important element of a clean energy future here in California, and is critical to unlocking the value of new clean energy tools like storage plus solar or other smart grid technologies. By charging more for electricity when demand is highest and less when demand is low, time of use rates create an economic incentive to reduce peak electricity use, invest in storage, and better align solar generation with grid needs,” said Evan Gillespie, the Director of the Sierra Club’s My Generation campaign.