ICYMI: East Bay Times/San Jose Mercury News Editorial: “Rooftop solar program robs from the poor and gives to the rich”

Posted on December 23, 2021

“PUC should revise California’s incentive program, balance the needs of the electric grid, environment and consumers”

Sacramento – The San Jose Mercury News/East Bay Times editorialized today in favor of Net Energy Metering (NEM) reform because the program “robs from the poor and gives to the rich.” 

The editorial also called for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to revise California’s incentive program, balance the needs of the electric grid, environment and consumers.”

Additional excerpts from the editorial:

  • “Rooftop solar has a role to play in fighting climate change. But placing solar panels on every rooftop is an inefficient way to meet the state’s clean energy goals and reduce our astronomical electricity rates.”
  • “The California Public Utilities Commission made a compelling case last week when it said the costs of the state’s rooftop solar incentive program — known as Net Energy Metering — substantially exceed its benefits. The program is also inequitable. California’s rooftop solar program is a classic case of Robin Hood in reverse — it primarily benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.”
  • “But the current sweetheart deal benefits wealthy homeowners at the expense of low-income neighborhoods. California won’t serve as a model to the world on how to best reduce emissions if it does so in a costly, unfair manner.”
  • “Owners of rooftop solar also don’t pay the fixed costs to utilities for maintaining the state’s electrical grid, distributing power, mitigating wildfires’ impact and investing in new technologies. That burden falls to the rest of the electricity consumers. Renters and people of color living in poorer areas pay an estimated $200 a year more per household in their electrical bills to cover the cost of the benefits enjoyed by rooftop solar homeowners.”
  • “But if we’re going to subsidize solar to meet our climate goals, we should be doing it in a cost-efficient and equitable way. The current system fails that test.”