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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Moab, UT

How is it more fair to charge some people for access to the grid, but not others?

Every electric customer uses power from the grid. Traditional customers use more; those with solar panels still consume electricity at night. Customers with solar panels do not cost the electric company any more money; they simply consume less power. If there is a cost to be connected to the grid, then it should be paid fairly by everyone connected to the grid.

In reality, what is going on here is clear - the power company is making less profit from customers with solar panels, and so they are asking the government to pass a law that will restore some of those profits, by levying an additional fee to restore their profit.

Bruce A. Frank
San Jose, CA

My experience living in CA. State legislature mandated that PG&E make 20% (IIRC)of its power production from renewable sources. My panel system is sized to fill my peak hour needs AND pump an equal or greater quantity of electricity into the grid. So, I am part of the power company. Initially we received credit based on the peak hour rates for what we pumped into the grid, offsetting the power we used when the sun wasn't out. But, even though we paid for our solar panel system, with a very small one time subsidy from the power company there were cries of "no-fair" to PG&E 'cause we weren't paying enough for our off-peek usage. We paid full rates, off peak is lower cost to everyone.But, legislature passed rate increase for all periods EXCEPT peak rates. So we get the same credit, but all the off peak rates are higher. BTW, we pay a $15/month "meter service charge." Cost us OOP $43,000 for the panels.Pre-panel electricity was ~$6,000/yr. After panels $300/yr. After rate change, now $2000/yr. Installation payback was 6 yrs, now 20. Con job? CLOSE!

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Tesla could power up a city with no wires, free energy from the earth and sky and free to the people. Natural gas was once free to the people for the cost of the pipe to the house. There once was a spirit of things that good people gave good gifts. The principal that we are friends. There was a time.

Wisconsin Moderate

Utah Voters, please be aware that Senator Bramble is not representing you. He is carrying out the latest ALEC initiative. In the 2014 annual meeting the ALEC model legislation "weaken solar net metering policies" was approved by industry to hand off to the state legislators who will represent the fossil fuel industry back in their own states. It is amazing how quickly and dutifully these folks do the bidding of ALEC.

ALEC is currently writing all of Wisconsin's legislation. Trust me, you don't want that for Utah.

West Jordan, UT

This is a prime example of the great lie given to consumers by our utility companies. Questar Gas, "If you conserve, you can save".It's a lie! Questar is not going to allow you to save because they need and expect X amount of revenue every year. If that revenue is decreased then they request a rate increase. They must make their money so there is no benefit to the consumer at all.

I am not suggesting we not conserve but don't believe any of the lies the utilities feed to you. Gas, electricity, water, it is all the same lie. If you conserve we will raise your rates.

Midwest City, USA, OK

It's refreshing to have something actually worth debating and discussing when it comes to legislation, as opposed the big, obvious stuff that shouldn't even be debated. We should be working out how to best use our economic and financial resources, like this, not having to fight to stop what is evil from silencing what is good.

West Linn, OR

We need to put this argument into perspective. Rocky mountain power is part of a multi tiered corporation that goes something like this. Pacific Power is owned by PacifiCorp which also owns other companies such as Pacific Power and PacifiCorp Energy. PacifiCorp is owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company who is in turn owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Now if you don't know who the biggest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway is, let me give you a hint. It is none other than Warren Buffett, the second richest man in America sitting on a cool 58.5 Billion. Add to this all the executive salaries for each of these companies and I think you get a better picture of who is going to benefit from this little rate hike. If you want fair Sen. Bramble maybe you should pass a bill to cut the rates of all energy users to that of what is being paid by the typical solar panel user.

Pleasant Grove, UT

Bountiful, UT

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

They're already paying a monthly bill for the power that they do use, just like the rest of us. What the power company wants is for them to pay extra because they also sometimes contribute their excess electricity back into the power grid for the rest of us to use. A far fairer system would be a meter that charges customers for the power they use and then reduces the charge as power is returned into the system. In other words, if you draw power from the system, you pay for it. If you contribute power to the system, you get paid for it. People invest a lot of money in their solar power systems. Why shouldn't they get paid back when they share what they generate with the rest of us?

Grantsville, UT

There is NOTHING OK with charging some customers (the customers that invested $10,000 and up for solar arrays) more for service! EVERYONE benefits from their investment, especially RMP. Solar array owners were promised a certain return on their substantial investment in clean energy and a beefed up power grid and should continue to be rewarded at the rate they were promised. Now, after thousands of citizens have made investements, and many are still paying for those investments, RMP wants to change the deal. RMP speaks with forked tongue! But in America, this is getting to be standard corporate policy: Bait and switch, squeeze the little guy till he bleeds, end-run fairness with law-makers, etc., etc., etc. It really is disgusting and RMP knows it, but when more money can be generated with little cost to their infrastructure RMP develops a high tolerance to disgust. It's not the RIGHT thing to do, but it is the EASY thing to do. It's enough to make ya sick!

one old man
Ogden, UT

There is only one thing anyone needs to know about this bill. It is sponsored by Curt Bramble.

That should immediately warn us that it needs to be soundly defeated.

West Jordan, UT

@sunderland--well said.

#1--We already pay a connection fee every month
#2--any additional capacity beyond what we use for the year is GIVEN to RMP
#3--We help to reduce the peak demand of the system overall especially on sunny days in the summer when A/Cs run most.
#4--generation of power is done closest to where it is used, thus limiting the long-distance power lines

Sounds like a bunch of smoke.

West Jordan, UT

@RMPJeff--Regarding your quote: "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."

Hmmm, so does it also include a fee for those that are NOT generating their own electricity during peak hours? Hmmm, sounds kind of one-sided to me, no?

Let's say Joe runs his A/C all the time to keep his house at 60 degrees F. Mike, his neighbor, installed solar panels to help the electricity situation and runs his at 78 degrees F. Is Joe going to be charged an additional fee besides the already stepped up rates because of his "energy choice"? If not, why?

utah, UT

The gripe here is that Rocky Mountain Power has set up infrastructure for everyone to use and thus should be compensated for their work for the state. The flip side is that the people and corporations have installed their own mini-infrastructure as well asd are selling power back to RMP and RMP want to try to make more money off of these people who are not subject to their regional monopoly.

No monopoly please when we have the power within us to be self-sufficient. Do we really need to pay them for the privilege of not being "slaves" to their product?


Meanwhile our dear Legislators send out "surveys" asking for permission to go after wood burning stove users in an effort to clean up the air....

How about enforcing current clean air standards - no way is the Refinery contributing less pollutiion than a handful of wood stoves - and encouraging solar power? Wouldn't that be more logical?

Ivins, UT

Perhaps some specifics about my solar array will provide a bit of perspective.

During the last three years my panels have generated 43,030 kWh of electricity. Of those, during the day 13,426 kWh have powered my home and electric car, and 29,598 kWh have been "donated" to Rocky Mountain Power's grid. At night, I have pulled back out of the grid 24,097 kWh. In other words, my array has produced 5,501 more kWh than I have used. Rocky Mountain Power has confiscated those excess kWh and sold them to my neighbors for pure profit --with nary a "thank you."

Now, I am happy to "donate" my extra kWh to my neighbors, simply to help improve our air quality with zero-emission, renewable energy. However, it adds insult to injury for Rocky Mountain Power to want to levy an extra surcharge on me to pay for their wiring, and then use that wiring to grab my excess kWh for FREE and sell them to those neighbors. Yet they label me a "freeloader"?! Pot, meet kettle.

Herriman, UT

RMP, you have looked over my solar kingdom with it's 7.75 kW of greatness and now you wish to take possession of the whole of it. I have something to say concerning this. If this elected official (Sen. Bramble) does not live up to the oath that he has taken to do what is right for all people, then he will be under your power. Oh wait, I guess that has already happened. Another example of political corruption. Sign of the times, friends. What will you charge me for next?

Tri Guy
Salt Lake City, UT

Every Summer,during periods of peak demand, Rocky Mountain Power spends huge ad dollars trying to convince citizens to turn over control of their meters to RMP enabling home electrical to be remotely shut down to ease the burden on the grid. RMP even offers to pay customers to not consume. Ironically, every citizen or business who installs solar adds capacity and infrastructure, at great personal cost, during the periods of highest demand. The fact that solar homes supplement their power in the night, during non-peak demand periods, requires no extra bandwidth on the grid. This is just RMP looking for more revenue. A tax by any other name is still a tax.

Murray, Utah

Great! (feel free to read sarcasm or not into that) Sounds like an "impact" tax. I'm thinking of getting solar power...and if there is an impact tax (creating additional costs to Murray Power/Rocky Mountain Power) required fine...(please make sure to give me the specifics of what costs I'm creating that are incremental to my existing use of the grid). Can we please also now look at an "impact" tax to all the new development out on the south west end of the Salt Lake valley instead of charging Murray for it?

Murray, Utah

Also just wondering...can we put solar power on the house AND disconnect from the grid? Just wondering if we're captured consumers or not.

Murray, UT

FYI @RedBlood - this bill originates from Curt Bramble of Provo.

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