Monday, February 1, 2016

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) preserves net metering in 3-2 vote

As California's Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) fight to raise rates for home solar investors, the CPUC rebukes their bid to move directly to "Time Of Use" pricing and claims that the Utilities have not made a documented case for why rates should be raised.
  • The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday voted 3-2 to preserve retail rate net metering for rooftop solar systems, adopting a Proposed Decision released last month with a few notable revisions. 
  • The decision is a victory for rooftop solar installers in the state, which lobbied the commission to preserve retail rate remuneration for solar facilities that send excess power back to the grid. The state's utilities filed an alternative proposal last week that sought to reduce net metering rates. 
  • The dissenting commissioners expressed frustration with revisions to the Proposed Decision, released only last night, that removed increases to non-bypassable charges for solar owners. Commissioner Carla Peterman, who voted for the measure, said the commission would have to revisit the issue and lower remuneration rates by 2019.
A modification makes time-of-use (TOU) rates mandatory for new rooftop solar users in the Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison territories, instead of phasing them in until 2019, when all residents are required to go on TOU rates. Solar owners in SDG&E's service territory will be allowed to remain on the utilities' tiered rate structure for five years after new TOU rates are approved in 2017.

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