Legislators Call State’s Rooftop Solar Subsidy Program a “Boondoggle”

Posted on August 5, 2022

Sacramento – Legislators once again expressed frustration to the President California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about lack of progress reforming the state’s rooftop solar subsidy program, Net Energy Metering (NEM). The comments came during the August 3 Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee hearing where the CPUC presented an update to the Legislature on its key proceedings including the NEM proceeding.

Among the comments made during the hearing:

  • “Net Energy Metering is the biggest boondoggle going on in the industry right now where working and poor people continue to subsidize wealthy people that have solar on their homes.”
  • “…in 2013 I chaired Utilities and Commerce in the Assembly and Henry Perea authored AB 327 that clearly called for addressing the NEM issue then, and here we are nine years later, and we are still having poor people subsidize something…”

                  -Senator Steven Bradford

  • “I wasn’t going to say anything on net energy metering, but I’ve heard two sides of that conversation here. I am kind of, you know, in the middle, but what I object to is that I don’t know why we should be paying so much more over market.”

                -Senator Bill Dodd

  • “I am very supportive of looking at everything we provide in terms of programs and benefits to the [electricity] customers and really cutting out the fat.  I think NEM is one of those programs that has an enormous amount of fat…”
  • “Also, there will be a lot more solar put on automatically because of new construction and I don’t know that necessarily requires us to over-pay for the cost of those electrons.”

                -Chairman Ben Hueso

In addition, Matt Baker, Director of the CPUC’s Public Advocates Office presented to the committee and said:

  • “I would be remiss if I didn’t identify Net Energy Metering as a significant [electricity bill] cost driver.”
  • “Almost 27% of the San Diego Gas and Electric non-NEM residential customer’s rate is associated with NEM.”