ICYMI: Assemblymembers Cite NEM Cost Shift Concerns as They Press CPUC President Reynolds to Move Faster on a NEM Decision

Posted on March 8, 2022

Sacramento – In a legislative hearing last week, Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo and Chris Holden repeatedly raised concerns about the Net Energy Metering (NEM) cost shift negatively affecting disadvantaged communities. Both urged California Public Utilities Commission President Alice Reynolds to move faster on a proposed CPUC decision to modernize the California rooftop solar subsidy program.

The comments came during the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee’s annual CPUC oversight hearing. Here is a link to the relevant parts of the transcript, with the most important points below:

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo: “And so I want to hear from you directly, when will we be able to see the new proposals back on the agenda? How long is it going to take you and your team to get, you know, all the information that you need? I know it’s a lot, but we in the legislature would actually like to hear from you on what that timeline actually looks like. Is it by the end of this year? Is it two years from now? Because in the meantime, renters continue to be hurt, low-income communities continue to be hurt. So what is, what does that look like to you?”

Assemblymember Chris Holden: “And certainly, you know, I guess the longer one can continue to think and debate and reflect new ideas can emerge, but given what we know and that the cost shift is real, and if we are concerned about the disproportionate impact on low-income ratepayers, as time goes on, it’s only going only going to grow. And so the sooner we’re able to create equity and balance in this program, then even with rate reform, we still may not be covering the bases as thoroughly as we should. More of a statement than, than a question.”

Others urging President Reynolds to address the NEM cost shift in the upcoming proposed decision:

Julian Canete, president and CEO of the CA Hispanic Chambers of Commerce “We want to express our appreciation to several members on this committee, including its chairman for continually sounding the alarm on the need for NEM reform and for fighting for equity for all customers. Low-income Californians and small business should not be paying  higher electricity bills so that higher earning Californians can install rooftop solar and have lower or no electricity bills. NEM in its current form is the poster child for how not to fund arcane energy objectives.”

Scott Wetch on behalf of the California Coalition of Utility Employees and the State Association of Electrical Workers: “You know, the legislature, for those of you who weren’t here passed AB 327 in 2013, directing the Commission to fix the cost shift nine years ago. Since that time, the cost shift is now up to almost $4 billion a year and it will be almost $8 billion by 2030. That’s completely and totally unacceptable.”