NEM Reform Coalition Urges CPUC to Modify Rooftop Solar Proposed Decision Prior to Vote on Dec 15

Posted on December 09, 2022

As Drafted, Proposed Decision Forever Locks in Unfair, Regressive Cost Shift that Hits Low-Income Customers

Sacramento – Today, Affordable Clean Energy for All submitted a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) expressing “surprise and disappointment” that the Proposed Decision released on November 10 did not go further to eliminate the unfair cost shift in the state’s rooftop solar subsidy program, Net Energy Metering (NEM).

“We strongly encourage you to modify this PD before voting to ensure non-solar customers, who are disproportionally renters, low-income families and seniors, are not forced to pay higher electricity bills to fund inflated subsidies provided to solar customers,” said the coalition.

The letter states:

“As drafted, the PD will forever perpetuate billions of dollars in excessive subsidies paid for by non-solar customers.

“We are surprised to see this because the extensive two-year record of this proceeding, and even the new PD itself, repeatedly validates the existence of and need to correct the unfair cost burden that falls disproportionally on renters, seniors and low-income families. Yet the resulting PD fails to do that.

“We are disappointed the PD locks in excessive subsidies for the existing 1.5 million solar customers forever. These subsidies are currently $4 billion annually. That means low-income Californians will continue paying hundreds of dollars extra in their energy bills in perpetuity, so rooftop solar homeowners, who tend to be wealthier Californians, can continue to receive bill discounts decades after they have paid off their solar systems.

“Failure to fix this problem means:

·       “The state’s rooftop solar program will continue to benefit the wealthier at the expense of the poor.

·       “Solar energy from rooftop panels will remain the most expensive form of clean energy in California.

·       “The state’s rooftop solar program will continue to jeopardize the state’s electrification goals by needlessly driving up electricity bills.”

The CPUC and other independent groups have for years validated the unfair and growing NEM cost shift: