Customers should direct their ire at RMP (not solar customers). RMP argues that
our excess electricity mismatches peak demand. First, WHY should SOLAR customers
ALONE be held responsible for meeting peak demand? Second, most Utah homes
consume much electricity during this peak, which our excess electricity helps
offset. Our solar home, in fact, generates excess kWhs. RMP then sells it at the
FULL rate, without having incurred any costs. Solar customers are NOT free
riders! Non-solar and solar customers alike pay for what they use, with a
certain % of every per kWh charge covering infrastructure costs. Moreover, why
not also surcharge non-solar customers who reduce their electric bills via means
other than solar (e.g., LEDs)?S.B. 208 stipulates that solar's
costs & benefits must be documented before ANY net-metering charge is
contemplated. RMP's cost study involved a small & biased sample, and
RMP refused to calculate any benefits, including RMP's aforementioned
profits.Solar homes will disconnect from RMP's grid once
battery storage is available. RMP will no longer receive our excess electricity,
which will disadvantage everyone's due to increased electricity bills, and
damage to EVERYONE'S health and environment.
This idea that the utilities are more efficient when they can provide a constant
never changing output is overblown, incorrect, deceitful, and does not reflect
the real world. All utilities face diurnal shifts in demand based on night and
day.. awake and asleep. They must adjust output continuously 24/7 x
365...it's an essential element of the business. The addition of a new
variable of outside power onto the grid is infinitesimal in the scale of their
output..small enough that the "grid" would not even notice. Also, as
solar grows, the day in day out variables will be entirely predictable and just
as manageable as demand...In fact the automatic instruments that manage output
from demand are already in place and running the system. The Utilities are
lying when they say they need to replace lost revenue..they are looking for new
revenue streams where they can profit from the investment of others.
Just points of clarification here: @Chem Engineer -- the problem
with coal and nuclear is that they are 24/7 sources that cannot be throttled up
or down to meet variations in demand or the presence of variable renewable
resources. Replacing coal with natural gas is good because gas can be ramped up
and down to meet load easily -- and it can be turned on or off when renewable
sources come on or die down. Think of it this way: When the sun is shining,
you don't have to burn costly fossil fuel. Coal and nuclear can't be
shut off easily, so you end up with negative pricing in some places where
utilities then have too much energy on the system and have to pay to have it
consumed elsewhere.Regarding subsidies, fossil fuels are highly
subsidized, from the rail roads that transport the fuels to black lung disease
that the federal government covers for coal miners to subsidized water to create
the steam to turn turbines to sweetheart land deals on BLM land to extract the
fossil fuels. Here in Utah, we have no severance fees on coal, a major subsidy.
This whole issue is to recover revenue lost over the last several years and not
a few residential solar users. The WSJ did a pretty good analysis this week on
the electrical power industry. It found that revenue has been flat to negative
(growth) across the industry. For about 50 years the power industry was able to
grow at least 2% or more each year. That is not the case today. About 4 years
ago people started cutting back on energy use. Manufacturing also cut back or
shut down due to the economy. Appliances became way more efficient and so did
homes. Recent trends also not only mean that people installed generating
capacity but so did industry and government. Result: no growth or negative
growth of profits. Now the electrical generating industry is coming up with new
ways to gather revenue. Solar tax is only the beginning.
If you don't want to pay the extra fee, cut the connection.That's a pretty simple way to get out of paying this $5/month fee. The
fact is, generating your own power really messes with the business model of a
utility company - kind of throws a money wrench in the works.
Chem Engineer is unaware of generating sources in the mix. They include coal,
slow to respond to changes, as well as gas and hydro that are faster. The issue
capacity for peak demand.RMP claims solar output doesn't
exactly match their residential peak demand curve. This is disingenuous because
residential is not their actual demand curve. It is used to set peak billing
periods for residential customers to maximize their bills. Their actual demand
curve matches the solar curve very well.The grid is a shared public
resource. Solar users strain it less because they use less electricity. When
they produce excess it goes through their pole transformer to their neighbors,
scarcely affecting even the local substation.The real fear is that
RMP will drive away the independent solar producers. New advances make it
feasible to produce all of the electricity for a household at competitive costs.
If citizen producers exit the grid rather than pay extra for their sharing then
there will be fewer on the grid to cover the costs. RMP needs to partner with
producers to make the grid more robust and secure than it is today with the
advantages of distributed production.
Solar-equipped homes are ALREADY paying the obligatory monthly surcharge that
every home must pay, regardless of how much energy is used. Now, RMP wants to
change the deal on them after suckering them into investing thousands of dollars
in solar hardware, hardware that benefits RMP as much as it benefits the owner.
The only expense incurred to RMP was the cost of the Netmeter, and they get them
very cheap. This new charge is just another big-business trick to suck more
money out of our pockets. If we let this one slide, next year it will go up, and
then up again, and again. There is no cap on greed, and that is all this charge
In order to transition to clean renewable energy and the job-creating economy
that goes with it, the market can be a force for good. When the entire cost,
including damage to the environment and related health problems, is factored
into the cost of generating electricity through the use of coal and is passed
onto consumers, the leap to renewable sources will be a lot easier. Subsidies
keep the price of coal-generated electricity artificially low. Raising the rates
on those consumers who are doing the right thing--the thing we should all be
doing--only exacerbates the existing problem. RMP has been involved in renewable
energy projects throughout the West and should be encouraged to increase its
investment in renewables. Perhaps they should be charging non-solar users the
extra $5 and use those funds for upgrading their lines and hardware for the
transmission of solar power from solar users to the grid, making the transition
to solar power easier for those of us who would like to do the right thing and
helping to ensure delivery during peak times for everybody dependent upon
RMP needs to make up for revenue lost when solar customers decrease their
demand? What about those of us who simply use less power by adding home
insulation, buying more efficient appliances, turning off lights, adjusting the
thermostat, etc.? Will they stick us with a surcharge as well to make up for
lost revenue? @Midwest MomSoldiers Grove, WI"Another example of how privatizing public goods makes things more
affordable. Or not."Yep. Some things work better as public
utilities. And for those unfamiliar with it, "Midwest Mom's" town
of Soldiers Grove is an excellent example of planning for the effective use of
solar energy and conservation of resources. Google it and consider that
they're in a far less suitable place for solar energy use than we are and
yet have made it an effective part of their lives.
Why don't they just charge everyone who connects to the grid a
"connection fee" to cover infrastructure costs, regardless of whether
they are a solar or traditional customer, and then bill them for the net amount
of energy they use? (Or, in the case of someone who puts more power into the
system than they use, pay them the going rate.) Or is this essentially what RMP
is doing? Seems like that would be the fair approach. Charging solar customers
an *extra* fee for connection that is not charged to other customers would be
Chem Engineer, it's not exactly as simple as that. Yes, a steady constant
draw of power from a major source is best for operating costs, but when is the
load a constant? It turns out that people use the most electricity on hot summer
afternoons to power their AC, precisely when the sun is shining. We should be
thanking the solar customers who provide the extra power to the grid when we
need it most.
Another example of how privatizing public goods makes things more affordable.
Or not.Some goods and services are best managed publicly. Example:
the growing need for new antibiotics. The need to make a profit doesn't
always give us the best outcome.
RMP has been very proactive in promoting energy savings and alternate sources of
power. Although the fee isn't much, it appears to represent a shift in
focus. We have had so many subsidies that encourage development of alternate
energy sources that maybe we are spoiled and are beginning to think entitlement.
That is not a healthy attitude. What if we just allow supply and
demand to regulate costs? We need less people who think they know what is best
for our future controlling costs with taxes and subsidies. People are beginning
to use solar because it makes sense and saves cents. If we continue the
socialistic practices of trying to regulate equality and uniformity (viz
Obamacare) we stifle creativity and development.
@demisanaYou're talking about the variable cost of generating
power which Rocky Mountain is NOT charging. The fixed costs include the
infrastructure to support the potential power creation.Although
I'm not supporting either side on this, I get what Rocky Mountain is
saying. If you want to be connected to the grid just in case your solar
equipment fails, then they have to have enough infrastructure in place to make
that possible. Same thing if solar customers want a credit for sending power
back to the grid. Infrastructure is needed to support that. Why should non-solar
customers have to pay for that? It kind of sounds like solar customers want to
enjoy all of the benefits and pass the actual costs on to everyone else.However, I'm sure I don't have all of the info on this so
someone else may be able to correct me
[continuation] Batteries can be used to smooth out the haphazard surges
in solar-generated electricity, but consumers are not usually willing to spend
2-3 times more money for their installation to buy the batteries, digital
controller, etc. needed to make that happen. And why should they? They
don't care that it forces the utilities, who are required to take the power
they haphazardly dump on the grid, to operate in a much more expensive fashion.
Somebody else is always there to pay the cost for them. Until now.
Frankly, $5 or so a month is not bad, all things considered. Anyone who wants
to try solar, and doesn't want to pay that, can invest in batteries, the
controls, and take themselves off the grid with their new "green power
source". Of course, their much more expensive system means they will be
paying a lot more for their "home-grown" electricity....
I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who do not understand
business finance. It is as simple as this folks: A steady consistent draw of
power from a major source, 24/7, yields the lowest operating cost possible,
whether it be a nuclear power plant, a coal-fired plant, or whatever. Operating
cost translates directly into purchase price for the customer.
However, if you take that same major power source and have to keep jacking the
output around - high output for a few hours, then low output for a few hours -
then maybe have to shut it down for a few hours - then start it back up and go
for high power output - - WOW - - what an inefficient, expensive way to run the
equipment! And guess what that does to your purchase price. So,
what on earth would prompt a utility to run their power plants in such a
haphazard fashion? Um, maybe the rising and setting of the sun, with a few
storms mid-day thrown in to just spice things up, and then dumping that
haphazard solar energy into the grid!! How about that!
People are clearly missing the point here. They are using the infrastructure
put in place by the power company. It is only fair.
Ok... since they incurred no costs to generate the power, their overall cost
just dropped. Cut the price they pay the generator of the electricity, maybe.
But to outright tax people who just paid thousands of dollars for their solar
system is ridiculous.
How about if Rocky Mtn. Power just take all the money that they spend on goofy
"watt smart" television ads and use THAT money to fuel their profits?We get it. Turn off the lights - save money. How many ads do we need
to figure that out?