ICYMI: Legislators express frustration at slow pace of Net Energy Metering reform and its continued impact on lower-income Californians

Posted on April 13, 2022

Sacramento –At a March 30 Assembly Utilities and Energy informational hearing entitled “Pocketbooks and the Power System: Managing Rate Impacts,” legislators again expressed frustration to California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff about the CPUC’s lack of progress reforming the state’s rooftop solar program, Net Energy Metering (NEM).

NEM has been identified as a significant factor contributing to rising electricity bills for customers without solar systems. Since customers without solar systems are disproportionately renters and lower-income Californians, the lack of reform is frustrating to those who are champions of the state’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable residents. Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was particularly vocal:

  • “And so I just, again, I just want to reiterate that we have continuously asked these questions and the PUC keeps dragging and changing the goalpost. I’m not okay with that. And I don’t think any member of the legislature should be okay with the fact that since 2013, the PUC has been mandated to address the cost shift and has failed to do so.”
  • “This failure to do so, just is incredibly telling at the lack of response towards again, renters and low-income communities that is currently costing $3.3 billion and a projected cost of 6.7 billion by 2030.”

During an earlier March CPUC legislative oversight hearing, similar comments were made by Assemblymember Holden:

  • “ . . . 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 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.”