NewEnergyNews: On The Road Reading: The Unintended Consequences of Solar’s Net Metering Fight; SDG&E says technology is unbundling services and pricing must follow.


Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.


  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Al Gore On The Morality Of The Climate Fight
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Solar In Latin America Can Boom
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Scotland Buys Into Kite Wind
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Tesla Eyes The China EV Market


  • TTTA Thursday-What Does Exxon’s Carbon Tax Mean?
  • TTTA Thursday-The Rump Flails Factlessly At Wind
  • TTTA Thursday-New Energy To Get Bigger And Cheaper
  • TTTA Thursday-EVs To Be Cost-Competitive By 2025

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Big Bonus From Plugging Cars In
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What About Nuclear?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Renewables Mandate To Beat The Peak

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Global New Energy Now
  • QUICK NEWS, June 20: What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 1)?; What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 2)?; New Energy Is NO Threat To U.S, Grid

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Why The U.S. Needs A Western Energy Market
  • QUICK NEWS, June 19: More Artists Join The Climate Fight; U.S. Power Just Hit 10% Wind And Solar; The Dangers Of Oil And Gas Drilling, Detailed

  • Weekend Video: Bill Maher Talks Jobs In Coal And The Real Problem
  • Weekend Video: A Farmer Defends WindPower
  • Weekend Video: The Secret To EV Success Is Charging Stations
  • --------------------------


    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews


    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns


    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart




      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.


    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, June 24-25:

  • Al Franken Explains Climate Science To Secretary Perry
  • John Oliver On Coal Jobs Absurdishness
  • Coal King Sues John Oliver For Defamation

    Monday, February 04, 2013

    On The Road Reading: The Unintended Consequences of Solar’s Net Metering Fight; SDG&E says technology is unbundling services and pricing must follow.

    The Unintended Consequences of Solar’s Net Metering Fight; SDG&E says technology is unbundling services and pricing must follow.

    Herman K. Trabish, August 27, 2012 (Greentech Media)

    When utilities and solar advocates faced off in May at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) over capping solar’s net energy metering (NEM) incentive, stakeholders knew the issue was significant. Few realized it would set off a re-evaluation of utility rates.

    NEM returns the retail per-kilowatt-hour rate to solar system owners for the electricity their systems produce, often reducing their bills to zero and exempting them from their utility’s co-charge for grid infrastructure maintenance.

    California’s big three investor-owned utilities (IOUs), including San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), believe the exemption inequitably shifts the burden for grid maintenance costs to non-system owners. The IOUs asked the CPUC to redefine the NEM cap downward to more quickly end the incentive.

    The CPUC sustained the existing cap, pending closer scrutiny of NEM’s costs and benefits.

    But the commissioners saw in the confrontation a bigger issue, according to SDG&E Rates & Analysis Manager Chris Yunker. “They came out with a residential rate OIR [Order Instituting Rulemaking]. They are going back to the drawing board to examine whether our current ratestructure actually supports California policy,” Yunker said.

    The NEM debate highlighted “our current rate design and subsidies buried in it,” he explained.

    In California’s “low carbon future, people can adopt all sorts of different technologies. When technology unbundles the services the utilities provide, the pricing needs to follow or there are adverse consequences.”

    The June 21, 2012 CPUC OIR called for the examination of whether “the current tiered rate structure continues to support the underlying statewide-energy goals, facilitates the development of technologies that enable customers to better manage their usage and bills, and whether the rates result in inequitable treatment across customers and customer classes.”

    The state’s mandate for utilities to move to 33 percent renewable sources by 2020, the California Solar Initiative, NEM, Governor Brown’s call for 12,000 megawatts of distributed generation by 2020, and AB 32’s required greenhouse gas emissions reductions, the OIR said, “have an impact on utility operations, utility costs, how the utility recovers those costs, and, ultimately, the rate itself. As the state moves to a cleaner resource mix, rates must be established that allow the utility to recover the costs related to these programs in an equitable manner.”

    SDG&E wants, Yunker said, “a transition of the rate design so that we can charge for the service we provide and so people can get what they pay for and pay for what they get.” The cost of grid operations avoided by solar system owners and shifted to other ratepayers through NEM, he said, is just one of many services in “bundled” rates that SDG&E would like to see “unbundled.”

    Solar advocates say this would erode NEM as a solar incentive, to the detriment of the state’s renewables and emissions reduction goals.

    Yunker disagrees. “That’s the way we can grow solar sustainably so that anybody who adopts it can get the benefits it provides and credit for the costs avoided by the utility while, at the same time, other customers are not stuck paying costs of services that solar customers use but aren’t covering under the current regime.”

    NEM is, Yunker said, “a starting point for the discussion. In reality, the issue is one of rate design. It’s whether we can provide accurate price signals.”

    Utilities’ rates recover costs for four general categories of services, Yunker said: Customer Costs for connecting ratepayers, Distribution Demand Costs for delivering energy, System Capacity and Transmission Costs for matching the system to peak demand, and the Commodity Costs of energy.

    “All those things are in the bundled rate,” explained SDG&E Senior Communications Manager Stephanie Donovan. “If you do not have to pay for the costs of those things, and under the current net energy metering structure you don’t, those costs are still incurred and they are shifted to customers who don’t have solar.”

    When the separate services that a utility provides are identified, Donovan added, “people who want to have solar rooftops or distributed wind have an accurate price signal.”

    Rooftop solar remains a challenge for California’s utilities. The CPUC’s OIR is due to the fact that, Yunker observed, “we are trying to catch up to technology.”

    Solar advocates like Mainstream Energy Director of Government Affairs Ben Higgins argue that the state’s IOUs are uncomfortable with the variability of solar and other renewables. Yunker said the CPUC determined that role for them. “The commission has long supported independent markets,” Yunker said, “and supported the utilities as a check to the market and to provide reliability.”

    Austin Energy (AE), a small, progressive municipally owned utility, may have the innovation that reaches beyond NEM.

    Its studies determined rooftop solar’s benefit to the utility to be 12.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Beginning in October, AE’s solar owners will be billed the same as all its other electricity consumers, including rates between 1.8 cents and 11.4 cents per kilowatt-hour and a $10 monthly Customer Charge. But solar owners will also be credited with 12.8 cents for every kilowatt-hour they send to AE.

    Theoretically, there should be no revenue loss to utilities or undue burden to other ratepayers because AE will only be paying for value it receives and will be charging for costs incurred. “Solar system owners are no longer a special class of customer,” explained AE’s Leslie Libby. “So far, it makes sense to everybody.”


    Post a Comment

    << Home