Net metering savior or classic bait and switch?
SCE currently has a fixed charge of $1 per month, while PG&E charges a $4.50 per month “distribution fee.” The concern is that more flat fees undercut net-metering economics on both ends: on the high end, lower power bills for homeowners that use large amounts of electricity erodes the long-term value of solar systems; on the low end, the flat charges add costs that no amount of energy efficiency or self-generated solar power can reduce.
In recent days, however, Greentech Media reported that state legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown’s office worked out amendments to the bill that, while leaving the rate change sections intact, would significantly alter the state’s rules on net metering.
The 11th hour tweaks led some groups that previously opposed AB 327, including The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), the national Solar Energy Industries Association and the nonprofit group VoteSolar, to shift to supporting the bill. Bryan Miller, TASC’s president and vice president of public policy for third-party solar provider Sunrun, told Greentech Media the amended AB 327 removes uncertainty in current law about how net metering rules will be implemented in the future.
Some are still calling the proposed legislation classic bait and switch.
California is the nation’s leading solar market, making the state the bellwether for the future of the nation’s renewable energy expansion.
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