A major electric utility company in Utah plans to triple the energy bill of solar panel owners, citing fairness between solar power and non-solar power users. Rooftop solar customers say that the change would unfairly penalize them.
Solar Companies Could Leave Utah
Switching to solar energy saves customers thousands of dollars each year. Additionally, electricity providers allow solar users to sell their extra power back to the utility in a practice known as net metering. Net metering helps make the cost of switching to solar more affordable for the end user and is a selling point for solar installers. Rocky Mountain Power, however, is poised to nearly triple charges for solar panel owners.
In order to be connected to the grid so that they can transfer power back to the utility, users must pay a nominal monthly service charge. Rocky Mountain Power, however, is poised to nearly triple the price of that connection for solar panel owners.
The Utah Public Service Commission opened a public hearing on the company’s proposal. Next week, the utility company, representatives from solar companies, and officials will bring their arguments.
Under the new proposal, solar panel owners would pay a $15 monthly bill. By contrast, the standard monthly service charge is $6.
Rooftop Solar Panels Can Benefit Everybody
Supporters of green energy noted that rooftop solar panels help everyone since there is no need for more costly power plants. They also keep air and water clean since no fossil fuels are used in energy production.
Critics of the change noted that states, where utilities were allowed to surcharge solar customers, have completely lost their rooftop solar development. The loss led to fewer choices for residents and no extra economic growth.
Rocky Mountain Power has been planning to boost charges for solar customers for more than three years now. In 2014, it wanted to force net-metered customers to shell out an extra $4.25 per month. Utah didn’t allow the change and started an investigation into the firm’s net metering program instead.