Coalition Reinforces Urgency of Net Energy Metering Reform (NEM) in Letter to CPUC

Posted on September 15, 2021

Says NEM reform is an issue of equity for low- and middle-income Californians who are unfairly shouldering bill discounts for solar homeowners

SACRAMENTO – Today Affordable Clean Energy for All, a diverse coalition representing low- and middle-income families, senior, renewable energy, business, faith-based, environmental community groups, and utilities, reiterated its call for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to reform the state’s Net Energy Metering program (NEM) so that all electricity customers – those with rooftop solar systems and those without – are paying their fair share of costs associated with the electric grid and public policy programs such as low-income assistance and energy efficiency. Under today’s 25-year old program, those costs are being unfairly shifted predominantly to middle- and lower-income Californians who don’t have solar systems.

From a letter submitted to the CPUC today by members of the Affordable Clean Energy for All coalition:

“Currently, non-solar customers are paying about $245 more per year to subsidize solar households. If nothing changes, by 2030 the cost shift will grow to $10.7 billion, or more than $550 per customer each year.”

“The excessive subsidies result in the average rooftop system in California being paid off in roughly five years, while customers with solar panels continue to receive generous credits for more than a decade longer.”

“Simply put, this is an equity issue where low- and middle- income Californians, communities of color and small businesses already struggling to make ends meet are paying electricity bill discounts for higher-income Californians.”

“Many proposals have been submitted during this proceeding, but only a handful would effectively address current inequities. We urge the commission to only consider proposals that will result in meaningful change to reduce or eliminate the cost-shift.

Coalition members said that in the 25 years since NEM was launched, the cost of rooftop solar systems has dropped 70%, yet the credits paid to customers with rooftop systems for excess electricity they export to the grid continues to increase. As a result, the excess power generated by the state’s rooftop systems is the most expensive source of clean power in the state; it costs roughly eight times more than solar power from large-scale systems.

Failure to make meaningful changes to NEM, the coalition said, will jeopardize the state’s transition to a clean energy future. Mandating that power generated by rooftop solar systems be paid at a rate of eight times more than it is worth will continue to needlessly drive up electricity rates, making clean energy less competitive with fossil fuels and making transportation and building electrification less attractive.

Groups signing the letter:

  • 100 Black Men of Long Beach 
  • Access California Services 
  • Antelope Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • Asians In Energy 
  • Association of California Cities – Orange County 
  • Black Chamber of Orange County 
  • Building Owners and Managers Association 
  • California Alliance of Retired Americans 
  • California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce 
  • California Business Properties Association 
  • California Business Roundtable 
  • California Chamber of Commerce 
  • California Community Builders
  • California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce 
  • California Latino Leadership Institute 
  • California Retailers Association
  • California Senior Advocates League 
  • California Taxpayer Protection Committee 
  • California Wind Energy Association
  • Central Coast Energy Services 
  • Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 
  • Central Valley Opportunity Center 
  • Ceres Chamber of Commerce 
  • Chamber of Commerce for Greater Brawly 
  • Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • COLAB San Luis Obispo County 
  • COLAB Santa Barbara County
  • Community Coalition
  • Community Housing Opportunities Corporation 
  • Dana Point Chamber of Commerce 
  • Dreamers, Visionaries and Leaders 
  • El Concilio of San Mateo County
  • Embracing Latina Leadership Alliances (ELLA) 
  • Fresno Chamber of Commerce 
  • Hispanics In Energy 
  • Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
  • Independent Energy Producers Association 
  • Inland Empire Economic Partnership
  • IBEW – Local 11
  • IBEW – Local 47
  • IBEW – Local 1245
  • IBEW – Local 465
  • International Council of Shopping Centers 
  • Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce
  • Latino Journal 
  • Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce 
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce
  • Modesto Chamber of Commerce 
  • NAIOP of California 
  • National Diversity Coalition 
  • Oceanside Chamber of Commerce 
  • Orange County Business Council 
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • Placer County Taxpayers Association 
  • Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce
  • Redwood Community Action Agency 
  • Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce 
  • San Diego Gas & Electric
  • San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance
  • San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership
  • San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce
  • South Orange County Economic Coalition 
  • Southeast Community Development Corporation 
  • Southern California Edison 
  • Sustainable Works 
  • Synergy Companies 
  • The Arc of Riverside County
  • The Chicana Latina Foundation 
  • The Chicano Federation of San Diego 
  • The Latino Coalition
  • Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Ujima Housing Corporation 
  • United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce