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Solar Power Users Upset Over Proposed Rate Hike

Above: Solar Powered Building

Aired 10/19/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.


JC Thomas, SDGE's manager for government and regulatory affairs

Daniel Sullivan, Sullivan Solar Power

Gil Fields, solar power customer


Solar Panels
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Above: Solar Panels

Many solar power users made the initial investment of adding solar panels to their homes in the hope of lowering their electricity bill.

But many are fuming after hearing SDG&E's proposal of a rate increase for use of their grid. SDG&E will break down the proposal for our listeners and we'll hear from a solar power user and business owner.

Tune in to KPBS Evening Edition Wednesday for more with SDG&E.

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Avatar for user 'SolarGirl'

SolarGirl | October 19, 2011 at 8:35 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

For more information regarding the SDG&E General Rate Case Filing, visit

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Avatar for user 'pamelaricci'

pamelaricci | October 19, 2011 at 10:28 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Don't ya like the way JC skirted the question about selling the power from solar producers to our neighbors at a profit? Aren't the solar producers already paying their fair share for the infrastructure by paying for the power they do use? How about SDGE's FREE USE OF MY INFRASTRUCTURE??

Maybe solar producers should start charging SDGE for our infrastructure. We have a contract with SDGE - if they get the PUC to approve this plan won't they be in breach of their contract with us?

I agree with Sullivan that SDGE is nervous about losing their profits to more solar producers.

I have invested in a 6 KW solar system. My net bill at true-up last year was $350. If the fee goes through it will almost double my bill.

All 12 million of us solar users need to take a stand. NOW!!!! PLEASE!!!!

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Avatar for user 'krudnick'

krudnick | October 20, 2011 at 6:43 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Moral outrage aside, let's do the math. It was stated that each solar user costs the 1.4 million users about $35/yr. That is a total cost of about $49 million per year. If we divide that by the ~12,000 solar power residents, that's about $4,000/yr or $333/month. I looked at the last bill I had from SDG&E which had distribution broken out and it showed about $20 for the month in question. I would like to see the SDG&E calculations to support the increase.

Currently we private solar power generators pay about $5/month and when we purchased our system, it was explained that was the cost of being connected to the grid. One might understand a 5% hike on that original cost as a typical inflationary rise, but to change from $5/mo to either $11 or $22 as stated in the broadcast (or $33 which I heard elsewhere) is ludicrous.

Furthermore, since the meter only shows net, SDG&E has no idea how much activity I'm producing on the grid. If I produce 500 kwh in a month and usee500 kwh in a month, they cannot tell the difference between my shutting off my system, going to Europe and producing 0 kwh and using 0 kwh over the same time period. So, even if they find some way to charge us for using the grid, they will have to change the metering in order to fairly determine just how much of the grid we're using.

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Avatar for user 'krudnick'

krudnick | October 20, 2011 at 6:51 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Excuse the misstatement above. I meant to quote JC Thomas as saying "the sum total of solar power users costs each non-solar user about $35/yr" unless I misunderstood JC Thomas. The English is incorrect. The math is correct, as I divided the total cost to all non-solar users ($49M) by the number of solar users to see how much each solar user is contributing to the total cost.

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Avatar for user 'enhder'

enhder | October 28, 2011 at 5:58 a.m. ― 5 years, 4 months ago

Technically SDG&E are already paying SDG&E for the use of the grid by having them as the provider of the service. ( as if we have a choice) If costumers provide aggregate power back into the grid then that is power available for other people to use, and SDG&E to make profit from. so shouldn't costumers who provide additional power into the system get a cut of the power input to the grid?

If SDG&E charges costumers for using the grid (which would still remain where it is regardless) then they should also pay them for providing power back, which according to SDG&E rates is about ~0.16Cents per Kw. It's only fair I think.

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