Comments about ‘Critics wants lights out on net-metering bill’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 24 2014 5:15 p.m. MST

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newhall, CA

Unbelievable that people are about to be charged for using the sun as energy. Frankly, I would love to see all of us off the grid and not even use any electricity from such utility companies and let their profits dry up. There appears to be a move to monopolize utilities such that the prices will continue to flow out of the roof and the consumer will be left out in the cold. Enough. Greed and stupidity is replacing frugality and intelligence.

Redding, CA

RM Power's statement by David Taylor is incorrect. RM Power's position is to collect more money from solar power generators, that equals imposing higher costs on the solar power generator, that equals a disincentive to installing solar electric panels. A mouthful of a sentence. But RM Power's statement was in fact a mouthwash that tried to "splain" things to us.
Solar power generators, i.e. rooftop generators are the best way to use otherwise wasted space for a public benefit. The public benefit is pollution free electricity. A less beneficial but still public benefit is energy independence.
Now it's cost beneficial, so c'mon RM Power, join us and help us instead of impeding us. RM Power and others need to get on the new bandwagon, they need to find technical solutions to working with variable outputs of solar (and wind) generators rather than fine them (us). I've spent my working career in electric power generation, so RM Power don't try to whitewash me like you did.

Ivins, UT

As a solar homeowner, my problem with the bill is that it is too nebulous and unspecific when charging the Public Utilities Commision to determine is such a fee is really and truly necessary. Specifically, I purport that the bill needs to include concrete examples of what the "costs" (line 118) AND "benefits" (line 119) might entail for net metering customers.

For example, yes: there are the "interconnection" COSTS of repair, maintenance, replacement of wires, transformers, poles, etc., to be tied to the grid. But the BENEFITS are more than mere solar kWh put into the grid, i.e., there is also the savings of fuel (coal, natural gas, oil, etc.), as well as the repair, maintenance, replacement of furnaces, boilers, steam generators, piping, CO2 scrubbers, and all manner of other equipment only necessary to generate electricity with fossil fuels, not to mention the crucial benefit of helping to reverse the deterioration of our air quality.

Bountiful, UT

Ironic comment coming from 'sg' whining so much about this bill. Note where he is from - the great state of California - a state where attempts to instill liberal and free flowing renewable policy has virtually crippled the economy, bringing the state to the brink of bankruptcy. Rocky Mountain Power isn't anti-renewable, and they deserve to be compensated for the costs they incur to incorporate solar and other renewable generation sources into their grid. Many of us are all for renewables - but not all of us can afford them and the majority of those that do are the wealthy who don't have to worry so much about the return on their investment.

Bountiful, UT

There are no freebies in life, the solar power crowed will at some point use the power grid, why wouldn't they be charged for this usage?

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

This is nothing more than a ruse. Rocky Mountain Power makes money off of those who put power on the grid through their solar panels. Usually, the most excess solar power is generated during peak hours and Rocky Mountain Power sells that power through their complicated distribution lines for far more money than they paid for it. This is just about greed and them wanting even more money. If Sen. Bramble was concerned about energy independence for America and Utah, and if he cared about pollution, he would quit seeing those Rocky Mtn. Power lobbyists and kill this bill.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

They want to charge $5.00 per month, not exactly a lot when you have the convenience of the grid backing you up on a cloudy day and you haven't had to pay for batteries. I have a cabin way off the grid with solar only, I would love the grid being closer and usable.

Salt Lake City, UT

For years I have been subsidizing RMP through its BlueSky program, because I thought it was sincerely interested in promoting renewable solar energy. No more. I will offset the new surcharge by cancelling my BlueSky subscription.

Orem, UT

Thank you to the DeNews for writing on this issue. I was at the Committee meeting today, it was a good meeting and I hope the Senators think long and hard before passing this bill. There have been many articles written about the costs of maintaining the grid, etc. They make a good point. But...no one seems to mention the benefits we and RMP receive from these solar customers such as: Surplus electricity is given freely back to RMP at no benefit to customers, electrical infrastructure (mini-power plants) are being built at no cost to the public (reducing future costs), we all benefit from cleaner air and reduced emissions, future generations are benefited by conservation of resources. One last example, at my place of employment we have a 10kW solar system. We consume well over 90% of the power we generate. Virtually nothing is being sent back to the grid, how much cost do you think RMP is really incurring from the small amount of power that we send back to the grid? Also consider that this power is mostly likely consumed by our neighboring business after traveling through 100 meters of wire.

Orem, UT

high school fan makes a good point, and I agree a customer should pay $5.00 to be connected to the grid, that's more than fair. This is already the case and more. In reality RMP is proposing to rise the minimum bill for solar customers from $7/month to $15/month. Because they are proposing to raise the minimum bill plus add the net metering fee. Seems like a slippery slope to me, and very damaging to the local solar industry, and advocates of clean energy and clean air.

Bountiful, UT

How is it I read about bills where members of the legislature are gunning for solar/green power AND cars that are efficient? And at the same time are looking for ways to clean the air? This isn't about real fairness. Anyone has the opportunity to choose ways to conserve resources and reduce pollution, its more about being smart vs being not so smart.

Bountiful, UT

If the power company needs money to help carry people who produce clean power fine, let us raise electricity rates for all. Let's not discourage clean energy. If we all pay a bit more for clean energy, it will pay dividends in better health and a more inviting state.

Clean / renewable energy is still small, it merits all of our encouragement.

Salt Lake City, UT

SB208 wouldn't impose a fee. Rather, it would direct the Utah Public Service Commission, after appropriate review and public process, to charge a reasonable fee to net metering customers instead of shifting a portion of their costs of utility service to other Utah customers. Rocky Mountain Power has proposed a $4.25 monthly fee, but the amount would be determined by the commission based on the evidence presented. Also, RMP wouldn't benefit from implementing a fee. The company is already allowed to recover its prudent costs of serving customers. SB208 merely clarifies state policy that a subsidy shouldn't exist where one customer's energy choice negatively affects another customer's electricity price, as applied to net metering.

Salt Lake City, UT

The cost shift associated with net metering is still in its infancy in Utah, but is already causing significant concerns in other states. Now is the best time to implement appropriate policies.

Many benefits of solar energy are unrelated to the local infrastructure costs a net metering fee would address and some are overstated. Peak electricity use, for example, generally continues into the evening hours long after solar production has dropped off. Concerns about Utah's air quality are also misplaced, as vehicle emissions and other area sources are the main contributors to the state's air quality problems, not power generation.

Efforts to ensure fair costs among customers aren't a real threat to solar energy in Utah, especially when we're talking about a possible monthly fee that's the same cost as buying a sandwich. With the hundreds or thousands of dollars available in state and federal tax credits for installing solar panels, that isn't going to be a deal breaker for most people considering such an investment.

RMP supports solar energy in Utah and is working to increase the renewable energy options available for our customers in a way that is fair to everyone.

Mark from Montana
Davis County, UT

The cost of maintaining the infrastructure will be paid in some fashion. In fairness, it should be paid by all those using it. I don't know what the cost is, but it should be shared equally by all. If $5 is the right number, than it should be assessed. What I don't know is if Bramble can be trusted to know the amount. What I have seen of him doesn't give me warm fuzzies. As a for profit company, I have learned not to trust Rocky Mountain Power, but that is why there is a governing board to approve rates.

Ricardo Carvalho
Provo, UT

There is a cost to being attached to the grid that needs to be honored. If that is not paid for by those using solar, it is attached to the bill of other customers of Rocky Mountain, a public utility, or any other for-profit utility. It is fundamentally unfair to ask other customers to subsidize those using solar. If, on the other hand, we feel sufficiently strongly about better air, respiratory health, etc… we can choose as a people to subsidize the use of solar further through a tax or other means. We subsidize public transportation in that way.

Wasatch Rebel
Kearns, Utah

Unless you're completely off the grid, you should be paying for the use of the facilities. If you're going to complain about it, disconnect entirely. Then you'll have a beef if you get charged for something for which you aren't using.

Joey D

I agree $5 a month isn't much, but it only the beginning. The proverbial "Foot in the Door" approach. There will be no end in sight to the future continuing increases. Don't let it happen!

W Jordan, UT

I do not see a problem with this.
The facts are that renewable energy is not dependable which forces the user to remain connected to the grid.
As taxpayers we've already subsidized many of these homes and businesses with our tax dollars in order for them to purchase solar panels... It's time to pay the piper for the handout you got from the taxpayers to enrich democrat donors.
Solar or wind energy are not cost effective.

Albuquerque, NM

I own a home with 45 solar panels that generate an average of about 1600 kWh per month (meeting nearly 100% of my demand). Why did I install the panels? Simple: Because the incentives were good enough for me to see a return on my investment. If I didn't see a return (or at least break even) over the life of the system, I wouldn't have bothered installing the system.

I have a large system that can generate more than 10 kW at peak times, so the power company needed to ensure that the transformer serving my home could handle that much power. They also have to ensure that I can draw power at night, on cloudy days, and whenever my demand exceeds my generation capacity.

A small fee of $5ish per month seems reasonable as long as the other incentives remain. The nominal fee would increase the pay-off period, but the system should still eventually pay for itself. My biggest concern is that this is just the first of MANY new charges the power company would want to impose in co-generation sites. Every new fee will decrease the willingness of consumers to invest in renewable energy.

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