New energy in advancing solar bill

September 11, 2013

solarA bill recharging California’s renewable energy plans is expected to skip through the state Assembly and make it to Gov. Jerry Brown for signature. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The measure by Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) is considered the most significant energy bill to to emerge from lawmakers’ chambers this year.

More people could receive compensation for excess electricity produced, and there will be an expansion of the authority of the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to require more renewable power production by utility companies. The bill also calls for reform of metering standards used to measure solar consumers/producers’ net usage.

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What this bill does is lower rates for folks in the valley that have high air conditioning loads and raise the rates for us on the coast. Rate averaging, use more pay less, conserve pay more! SLO City folks should recognize this with the new changes to their water bills. Everybody gets a $10/month increase to cover grid maintenance, BTW you already pay $5/ for this! Those of us who have invested in solar are getting jacked around on our guaranteed contracts and payback schedules.

Ever wonder why PG&E works 7 days a week, even Labor day on these big “maintenance” (helicopters) projects? They need to spend the money they are guaranteed to receive plus profit upon expense. Once a great “Public Utility” is a private Corporation with not enough regulation.

They are going to get the San Bruno settlement paid out of rate payers pockets one way or another.

Yep. Go green, prepare to lose some green.

…and to think many of these “greenies” had such hope and faith in their chosen big government.

Sever yourself from the grid – if and while you still can – is the only way to truly live with a “small footprint” (or whatever dopey lingo is currently being used). No electric, no water/sewer, no landline (cellphone is probably enough). Of course that requires a true dedication to a particular lifestyle (i.e. propane-run fridge, ala RV) such as going to bed when the sun goes down (or investing in candles), having a good well on your property, decent leech field for waste, etc.

I’ve seen it done and it is a lot of work and almost no luxuries… well, one’s idea of “luxury” changes.

Wonder if all these schools are going to get hit with a massive bill because they all jumped at the “solar carrot” that was offered. Goodie.

If you have a guaranteed contract with your solar company, you probably leased the system and therefore you have nothing to worry about, a contract is a contract. If you bought your system, there were no guarantees. I understand why the change from $5.00 per month to $10.00 per month. The cost to serve us as customers is more than $5.00. Since we have solar and our bills are only $5.00, people who’s bills are more than $5.00 are subsidizing your bill and mine. Considering you and I can afford solar panels, I don’t see why someone else should be subsidizing my electric service.

With respect to the helicopters and working 7-days a week, PG&E rents the helicopters. If they took every Saturday and Sunday off, they would have to rent the helicopters for 20% longer and thus cost us consumers 20% more.

From the group Save Our Solar. And remember the CPUC is full of x utility executives.

“1) The bill gives direction to the Public Utilities Commission to make certain that those who signed up for net-metering are afforded a reasonable pay-back period on their solar investment, based on the year the customer initially took service.

2) The bill gives direction to the Public Utilities Commission to make certain the new rules and rates for customer generators (currently called net-metered customers) will be designed to continue to substantially grow the distributed generation market.

3) The bill removes the 12.31.14 net-metering suspension order. This is perhaps the biggest “win” of this bill because if the arbitrary cap had not been removed, it would have been impossible to achieve the State’s renewable energy goals.

4) The bill requires the Public Utilities Commission to develop the new rules and rates for customer generators by March 31, 2014.

5) The new rules and rates will not be applied to existing net-metered customers until such time that the Public Utilities Commission determines is reasonable. This is both a victory and a loss. We are hopeful that the Commission grandfathers existing net-metered customers for at least 20 years, when determining what is ‘reasonable’.

In summary, this bill has both good and bad components to it. Net-metered customers may be targeted with new fees but the Commission is given direction to continue to grow the market and therefore is unlikely to allow the utilities to wipe out the solar savings net-metered customers enjoy Customer generators will ultimately be transitioned to new rate tariffs, we will continue our fight at the CPUC to ensure the rules are equitable. “

What I don’t get is why is there more than one rate? Like the water bill, it’s not penalizing conservationists and rewarding “water hogs” – rather, it brings their rates closer together.

Again, if I drive a 2-cylinder Coffin Car and get 60mpg I pay the SAME per gallon of gas that the 12-cylinder 8mpg vehicle driver pays. The SAME rate, I don’t get a rate break and they don’t get a rate penalty.

Why would there be breaks and penalties for any other energy consumption? I mean, it’s all about CONSUMPTION, right? You consume less, you pay less. You consume more, you pay more.

Why and how this eludes many people is beyond me. There should be a FLAT, FIXED rate for electricity and THAT’S IT. You generate it, you get credit. You consume it, you pay for it. Period.

Home run roy, this is the crux of all of these issues.

The more water you use, the more power you use, the more gas you use, the more medical services you use above and beyond should be charged accordingly compared to the norm, one should expect to pay for that extended consumption….

The tiered rate structure was introduce in 2001 to encourage conservation and reduce demand for energy. If your first 300 units of energy/water cost $0.15, but your next 300 units cost $0.45, you’re going to conserve energy or water so you don’t have to pay $0.45. The gasoline analogy is a good one, but when gas is cheap, everyone runs out and buys pickup trucks and SUV’s. This increases demand and this increases price (even for those who kept their small car or bought a Prius). Why should I pay for your gas hog/energy hog/water hog habits? The tiered system works in way where, you can use all you want, but you’re going to pay for the increased demand. If I conserve, I get to enjoy the benefits of the lowest cost energy/water/gas.

I’ve always wondered about roof panels and fire suppression in homes and commercial buildings.

Or even the lame corkscrew lightbulbs. Those compact fluorescent things are HAZARDOUS to everything (mostly from the mercury contained inside). I’m doubting they may pose a problem for fire departments, though.

Bingo roy, little practical thought is given to how to deal with many of these mandates signed into law. Where is the infrastructure to handle the waste from all of these new green products?

And all HAZMAT materials are a concern for firefighters, look to the article about the plastic bag company that burned in Paso, or the many vehicles fires on Cuesta Grade that firefighters respond to. That black smoke is filed with fumes from plastics, fuel and many new manmade products. Each time we role, we face dangers to our bodies even when equipped with SCBAs. Think about that each time you pass a vehicle fire on the grade and see those men and women putting that fire out and trying to rescue those occupants… They are exposed to the worst of the worse products man makes and they are burning, releasing many toxic products…

If you think solar panels are bad, think about airbags in modern cars, there are 12 in MBZs, there are 11 in Audis, there almost that many in all modern vehicles.

Anytime firefighters respond to a vehicle TC, they are prepared to cut the driver and occupants out with the knowledge of where to expect these airbags. Solar panels present a problem because each dwelling is different and each one presents unique problems, that are solved by the IC on each incident.