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California Utilities Plan All Out War On Solar, Please Read And Help

LeeM

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 26, 2021
40
56
Sacramento, CA

200,000 messages to Gov. Newsom


The key action for the next phase of this campaign is more messages to Gov. Newsom (and the CPUC) asking him to stop the Utility Profit Grab and ensure solar continues to grow, and grow more equitably. Over 30,000 people have already submitted a message and we aim for 200,000 messages by the end of the summer. We can do this!
The campaign Toolkit also offers additional ideas for how to get phone and social media messages into the Governor. Please send any ideas you have as well.
 
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LeeM

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 26, 2021
40
56
Sacramento, CA

Accounting tricks that the utilities use to make their claim


We already know that rooftop solar not only reduces energy bills at the household level but also at the societal level. For several years, the state's grid operator (CAISO) has reported flat long-distance power line spending because of rooftop solar and energy efficiency. In 2018 alone, CAISO canceled 20 power line projects, saving $2.6 billion in just one year.

Some have asked, in the face of these facts, how do utilities and their echo chamber still claim the opposite, with seemingly reputable numbers?

The short answer: with accounting tricks.

Here's one of them: counting all the solar made and consumed on-site as a "cost".

That’s like saying people who grow their own vegetables make Safeway shoppers pay more. Or that people who use LED lightbulbs and energy efficient heat pumps to increase costs for those who don't.

Utilities and their backers, like the UC Berkeley’s Energy Institute, defend their approach with more misinformation, saying that the fixed costs of the grid don't get paid for when people make their own energy.

This is incorrect. When people make their own energy, the grid doesn’t experience as much strain, which lowers maintenance and new construction costs. These are facts, and the evidence grows stronger by the day.

This utility accounting method is not only misleading but also turns basic ecology principles on their head. The bottom line: reducing your footprint is indeed good for people and the planet.

Look for a research paper from the campaign soon unpacking more accounting methods like this, with citations.
 

FlatSix911

Porsche 918 Hybrid
Jun 15, 2015
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Silicon Valley
I wonder if PG&E is willing to pay surge rates to homeowners who help during critical periods when they discharge their Powerwalls into the grid. ;)


Now, Tesla is launching its own virtual power plant in California to help the state’s grid:
“The California grid operator forecasts a continued need for Californians to support the grid through 2021. Help create the largest distributed battery system in the world and avoid dependence on the least efficient fossil fuel power plants. Opt-in to the Tesla Virtual Power Plant (VPP), and Tesla will dispatch your Powerwall when the grid needs support while continuing to maintain your energy security.”
California’s grid is expected to have an exceptionally difficult few months, with record high temperature increasing energy demand on the grid and a significant drought affecting hydropower plants, like the Hoover Dam.
 
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Merrill

Merrill
Jan 23, 2013
4,003
1,452
Sonoma, California
I wonder if PG&E is willing to pay surge rates to homeowners who help during critical periods when they discharge their Powerwalls into the grid. ;)


Now, Tesla is launching its own virtual power plant in California to help the state’s grid:

California’s grid is expected to have an exceptionally difficult few months, with record high temperature increasing energy demand on the grid and a significant drought affecting hydropower plants, like the Hoover Dam.
I’m sure PG&E will find a way to charge you to do this.
 
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gene

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Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2013
2,308
12,637
Santa Barbara, CA
Subject: Tell AARP: Stop lobbying to kill rooftop solar

Hi,
I just signed a petition asking AARP to stop their attack on rooftop solar in California. AARP is working with PG&E and other utilities to pressure state officials to put solar out of reach for working class families. AARP's actions harm seniors on a fixed income who are suffering from high energy bills and power outages. AARP should be lobbying to help more seniors get solar and batteries, not block it.

I hope you consider taking action as well: Tell AARP: Stop lobbying to kill rooftop solar

Thanks!
 

LeeM

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 26, 2021
40
56
Sacramento, CA
It's Flood the Gov with phone calls day.. Here is a script you can use
My name is ___ and I live in ____. I am calling to ask Gov. Newsom to oppose the utility profit grab to kill rooftop solar. He needs to tell the CPUC to stand up to the utility falsehoods and keep rooftop solar growing so that millions of working and middle-class people can get solar.

Here is the number to call!!! (916) 445-2841

Thank you for your hlelp
 

LeeM

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 26, 2021
40
56
Sacramento, CA
AARP is lobbying, in partnership with utilities like PG&E, to make it more expensive for California seniors to access rooftop solar. AARP's actions will result in higher electricity bills and more blackouts for California seniors.

Rooftop solar protects seniors on fixed incomes from utility price gouging. Solar-powered batteries protect seniors with medical issues and disabilities from life-threatening blackouts. And rooftop solar reduces electricity costs for everyone whether they have solar by reducing the cost of the electrical grid.

Despite these facts, AARP is repeating utility misinformation about rooftop solar, and lobbying state energy officials to make solar twice as expensive as it is today by:
  • Charging solar users new monthly fees just for having solar
  • Slashing the credit solar users receive for sharing their extra solar energy with their neighbors.
AARP should stop pushing the utilities' agenda, and should instead focus on helping millions of more seniors and other Californians get rooftop solar and batteries.

More information on the effort to save rooftop solar

Fact sheet on AARP's attack on rooftop solar

I just signed a petition asking AARP to stop their attack on rooftop solar in California. AARP is working with PG&E and other utilities to pressure state officials to put solar out of reach for working-class families. AARP's actions harm seniors on a fixed income who are suffering from high energy bills and power outages. AARP should be lobbying to help more seniors get solar and batteries, not block it.


I hope you consider taking action as well and help spread the word: Tell AARP: Stop lobbying to kill rooftop solar
 

Big Dog

Active Member
Mar 7, 2016
1,644
1,639
Irvine, CA
AARP is lobbying, in partnership with utilities like PG&E, to make it more expensive for California seniors to access rooftop solar. AARP's actions will result in higher electricity bills and more blackouts for California seniors.

Rooftop solar protects seniors on fixed incomes from utility price gouging. Solar-powered batteries protect seniors with medical issues and disabilities from life-threatening blackouts. And rooftop solar reduces electricity costs for everyone whether they have solar by reducing the cost of the electrical grid.

Despite these facts, AARP is repeating utility misinformation about rooftop solar, and lobbying state energy officials to make solar twice as expensive as it is today by:
  • Charging solar users new monthly fees just for having solar
  • Slashing the credit solar users receive for sharing their extra solar energy with their neighbors.
AARP should stop pushing the utilities' agenda, and should instead focus on helping millions of more seniors and other Californians get rooftop solar and batteries.

More information on the effort to save rooftop solar

Fact sheet on AARP's attack on rooftop solar

I just signed a petition asking AARP to stop their attack on rooftop solar in California. AARP is working with PG&E and other utilities to pressure state officials to put solar out of reach for working-class families. AARP's actions harm seniors on a fixed income who are suffering from high energy bills and power outages. AARP should be lobbying to help more seniors get solar and batteries, not block it.


I hope you consider taking action as well and help spread the word: Tell AARP: Stop lobbying to kill rooftop solar
IMO, this is one of the weaker arguments on this thread. There are two group of seniors, those with solar and those without. Those with solar are clearly not "suffering from high energy bills and power outages." Those without solar are, and it will only get worse. So the question is how best to manage both groups. More free stuff to the first group means higher costs to the second. More free stuff to both groups means both groups pay hidden fees (as someone has to pay for the freebies and the legislature will just hide them).
 
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FlatSix911

Porsche 918 Hybrid
Jun 15, 2015
6,892
6,511
Silicon Valley
Subject: Tell AARP: Stop lobbying to kill rooftop solar
Hi,
I just signed a petition asking AARP to stop their attack on rooftop solar in California. AARP is working with PG&E and other utilities to pressure state officials to put solar out of reach for working class families. AARP's actions harm seniors on a fixed income who are suffering from high energy bills and power outages. AARP should be lobbying to help more seniors get solar and batteries, not block it.I hope you consider taking action as well: Tell AARP: Stop lobbying to kill rooftop solar

Thanks!
Done deal... thanks for the link.
 
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LeeM

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 26, 2021
40
56
Sacramento, CA
IMO, this is one of the weaker arguments on this thread. There are two group of seniors, those with solar and those without. Those with solar are clearly not "suffering from high energy bills and power outages." Those without solar are, and it will only get worse. So the question is how best to manage both groups. More free stuff to the first group means higher costs to the second. More free stuff to both groups means both groups pay hidden fees (as someone has to pay for the freebies and the legislature will just hide them).
If you don't want to sign, that is fine.
Here are the many reasons why the current CPUC proposals would unfairly gut the benefits of rooftop solar in California, and how they are based on false premises invented by utilities to justify their position.

These utility-sponsored proposals will profoundly harm AARP members who have invested in rooftop solar and battery storage or wish to do so to reduce their energy bills or protect themselves from blackouts. These twin threats are especially acute for low-income seniors, medically vulnerable elders, and those with disabilities - and rooftop solar and battery storage are the best solutions available.

Moreover, by killing rooftop solar, the utility proposals will force all ratepayers to pay higher electricity bills whether or not they have solar. That is because rooftop solar reduces the need to build and maintain electricity transmission lines.

Finally, the utility proposals will harm the environment by slowing down the transition to renewable energy and prolonging the operation of polluting gas plants in disadvantaged communities.

Locally owned solar panels compete directly with the utilities' business model. Every electron generated by a rooftop panel is one the utilities cannot profit from. The CPUC proposals would allow utilities to double the cost of rooftop solar, putting it out of reach for middle- and working-class people just when it is taking off. You don’t need to be an alternative energy wonk to see that the CPUC proposals are obviously a money grab by the utilities. They seek to cut off the growth of solar panels now by gutting their financial benefits.

The "cost shift" argument is an unsubstantiated falsehood, invented by the utilities and their echo chamber to justify their position. This is clear from a close examination of the accounting methods used to develop the cost shift claim. AARP admits it did no such due diligence before aligning itself with the utilities. In doing so, it has done its members and the public a grave disservice.

The AARP should withdraw its endorsement of this shameful utility money grab that has sadly aligned the AARP with a profoundly corrupt, anti-environmental position on the wrong side of history.



Instead of opposing the continued growth of rooftop solar, AARP should be helping get more solar and batteries onto the rooftops of millions more senior citizens, and the general public. AARP should especially work to increase solar access for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities who depend on consistent electricity to operate both life supporting medical and mobility equipment.
 
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LeeM

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 26, 2021
40
56
Sacramento, CA
California solar is growing fastest in middle and working-class neighborhoods because policies like net metering are making solar more affordable for people.
Unfortunately, big utilities like PG&E want to change the rules to grab profit for themselves at consumers' expense. They want to make solar out of reach for working families.
California leaders need to keep solar affordable for all and stop the Utility Profit Grab. Please sign to send a message to the Gov... Sign Petition — Save California Solar
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,795
8,039
Maine
California solar is growing fastest in middle and working-class neighborhoods because policies like net metering are making solar more affordable for people.
Unfortunately, big utilities like PG&E want to change the rules to grab profit for themselves at consumers' expense. They want to make solar out of reach for working families.
California leaders need to keep solar affordable for all and stop the Utility Profit Grab. Please sign to send a message to the Gov... Sign Petition — Save California Solar
The whole concept of net metering needs to go.

You generate PV.
You either consume it or feed it into the electricity grid.

The utility should always pay wholesale price for the electricity.

What the market pays _you_ for your feed-in should have _nothing_ to do with the utility, other than it handling the metering and the payments.
You either get wholesale rate, or any difference is either covered by general taxpayers or by electricity consumers through a known supplement on the electricity price.

Instead of petitioning to keep a terrible system, come up with a sensible proposal to shift to a feed-in tariff.
 
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h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,939
565
auburn, ca
The whole concept of net metering needs to go.

You generate PV.
You either consume it or feed it into the electricity grid.

The utility should always pay wholesale price for the electricity.

What the market pays _you_ for your feed-in should have _nothing_ to do with the utility, other than it handling the metering and the payments.
You either get wholesale rate, or any difference is either covered by general taxpayers or by electricity consumers through a known supplement on the electricity price.

Instead of petitioning to keep a terrible system, come up with a sensible proposal to shift to a feed-in tariff.
Thats great, but at that rate, who would ever want to install solar, I sure would never have spent the amount of money I did, no return ever
 
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gene

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2013
2,308
12,637
Santa Barbara, CA
Anyone aware of a study that shows rooftop solar is better/worse for ratepayers overall than utility scale solar farms?
There are analysis out there. But it is common sense to produce the electric power where it is consumed. This saves on transmission costs as well as prevents the needless destruction to critical desert habitats. All of which would be better for rate payers if only the utilities were honest.
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,301
10,984
United States
The whole concept of net metering needs to go.

You generate PV.
You either consume it or feed it into the electricity grid.

The utility should always pay wholesale price for the electricity.

What the market pays _you_ for your feed-in should have _nothing_ to do with the utility, other than it handling the metering and the payments.
You either get wholesale rate, or any difference is either covered by general taxpayers or by electricity consumers through a known supplement on the electricity price.

Instead of petitioning to keep a terrible system, come up with a sensible proposal to shift to a feed-in tariff.

I wrote a blog titled 'The problem with Net Metering' and posted it to TMC years ago. I think it's been lost in all the site revisions.

Yeah, NEM is basically a relic from when we needed a simplistic system everyone could understand even if it didn't reflect reality.

Standby Charges are one of the best examples of where net metering fails. If you force utilities to credit solar on a 1:1 basis they can just add a capacity fee like Farmington, NM has done at ~$7/kW. They have net metering... but still no one is going to invest in solar.
 

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cali8484

Member
Jul 8, 2018
275
153
California
There are analysis out there. But it is common sense to produce the electric power where it is consumed. This saves on transmission costs as well as prevents the needless destruction to critical desert habitats. All of which would be better for rate payers if only the utilities were honest.

I understand the sentiment but I also see that utility scale solar farms could directly benefit ratepayers who can't/don't install rooftop solar which is likely to be the majority for a very long time. It does not seem obvious which one is overall better for ratepayers. So, I was just wondering if there was a rigorous study done on the pros and cons.
 

gene

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2013
2,308
12,637
Santa Barbara, CA
I understand the sentiment but I also see that utility scale solar farms could directly benefit ratepayers who can't/don't install rooftop solar which is likely to be the majority for a very long time. It does not seem obvious which one is overall better for ratepayers. So, I was just wondering if there was a rigorous study done on the pros and cons.
2 minutes on google and I found all sorts of links. They lean both ways depending on the source.

Here's one: https://www.acgov.org/cda/planning/landuseprojects/documents/Distributed_vs_Utility_Scale.pdf
 

gene

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2013
2,308
12,637
Santa Barbara, CA
At the moment I am in Fort Bragg, CA. It is a friendly town of 7,000 people. The income level here is on the lower side. Beautiful redwood forests and gorgeous ragged coastline. I am here looking at properties. This town has an incredible amount of solar on rooftops. Even the very humble homes in the lesser affluent neighborhoods have serious amounts of solar panels. The percentage of homes with solar is nearly what I have seen in Hawaii.

There is no local installer. Finally, I decided to knock on the front door of an old California bungalow style home in the less affluent part of town. I'd say it had 6Kw of very new and shiny panels and conduit. The old guy living there was very friendly. He told me that SunRun does most of the towns systems. They line up a bunch of jobs and come out to do the work every few months. In California there is a program that subsidizes up to $3000 per Kw depending on income that is 80% or less of the median income for the community. This fellow told me that his system was free. He also mentioned that I see so much solar as the only gas they have here is propane and that heating with electricity is much cheaper than propane.

So, here is info on the freebie PV system he scored. It says administered by Grid Alternatives who I had thought did all their o

The single-family affordable solar homes (SASH) program​


The California SASH solar program provides huge solar money to single family homeowners. The program is administered by the non profit organization Grid Alternatives. They help provide green job training in low income areas to help people secure good-paying green energy jobs.


SASH program requirements


If you can qualify for the SASH program, you’ll get an upfront incentive of $3 per watt of solar installed.


So, if you want to install a 6 kilowatt system on your home, you’ll get an incentive of $18,000! That’s basically enough to pay for the entire cost of your solar system.


If you meet the following criteria, you could get this solar money:


You’re a Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, or San Diego Gas & Electric customer
  1. You own and live in your home
  2. Have a household income that is 80% of or below the the area median income
  3. Live in a home that is considered to be “affordable housing” by the California Public Utility code.
 

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