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Nevada PUC decision on solar

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Merrill, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    I'm having a hard time understanding the decision based on the fact that the power companies say everyone who does not have solar are paying for those who do. I paid to generate power from the sun, so I'm using less from the power company. So they are saying that some of my power I generate is being paid for by non solar customers. I guess that the coal fired power plants in Nevada are better than solar. To me it is a scam to make more money for the power companies.
     
  2. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    #2 nwdiver, Feb 25, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
    I'm not completely unsympathetic to the plight of utilities... but they need to accept that in the future they're going to have a smaller role to play and smaller = less revenue. The general theme is that they invested for example $100M and they expect a certain rate of return on that investment. If some of their rate payers are subtracting themselves from that ROI by self generating then the remaining balance has to be spread among the remaining rate payers. Some TMC members argue that the increased fees go towards upgrades to support solar... I'd love to see evidence that ANY upgrades have been made in NV to support solar. Or NM for that matter. No doubt they'll be required down the road but this is a profit grab.

    I spoke to some friends that have been working with our commission in Santa Fe. My utility SPS is really hurting since they've lost nearly 50% of their revenue as a lot of their sales went into pumping oil. Guess where they're trying to make that up? Yep... a rate hike of 10-20%. How ironic is that causality chain? The cost of oil goes down => less oil is pumped => Xcel loses $$$ => Xcel increases rates => I pay more for THE ENERGY I PRODUCE!! => I'm paying Xcel more $$$ for the 'privilege' of generating my own power to drive an electric car....

    Here's a brief history of 'wonderful' rate 59. This is a production fee applied to every kWh produced. It's scheduled to increase to $0.043/kWh... I'll be paying $70/mo for generating my own power... even if that power never interacts sees the grid.

    unnamed.png

    And... Rolo... if they added a rider to Rate 59 that REQUIRED the proceeds to actually be spent on grid upgrades I wouldn't really care... call me cynical but I'm pretty sure that's not where the $$$ is going.....

    *sigh* you can't make this crap up....

    Yes... it's a SCAM... it's protectionist... it's a profit grab, it's un-American and absolutely pathetic.
     
  3. RandyS

    RandyS Fan of Elon

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    Merrill,
    In our region, there are definitely subsidies that non-solar customers are paying for us solar customers. Here are a few things that come to mind:

    * Solar customers do not yet pay any net energy metering application fee, or any fees to become a net energy metering customer (the work involved to set up a customer for NEM, inspection, application, approval, set up the meter, billing, etc.). So all of that labor (to do this for about 1,500 customers per month) on the part of the utility is covered by general rate case funds that all customers pay for on a per kWh basis. Solar customers tend to buy less kWh so they don't cover these costs fully.

    * I am on a time of use rate for EV drivers and I am credited with full retail pricing on all kWh less than my annual consumption. In the summer, I am credited with 49 cents per kWh for what I export to the grid. This power flows to my neighbors, and the chances are very high that my next door neighbor that gets my power is probably paying less than 49 cents because not many customers are on the EV TOU rate. So I may get 49 cents credit for each summer peak kWh and my neighbor may be paying 19-37 cents. That difference in cost is a subsidy covered by all ratepayers.

    * Non-solar customers pay T&D fees as part of their bill (per kWh) that cover the grid and the infrastructure that feeds their home. If a solar customer generates what they consume (in rough terms) and their annual trueup bill is minimal ($10 / month), a solar customer really ends up not paying very much for the grid that feeds their house. But they probably use the grid as a storage battery every day, exporting energy during the day and importing it in the evening.

    * Part of the per kWh price paid by all customers is for programs that the CPUC has mandated (low income customers get a discount, energy efficiency rebates, etc.) Since solar customers buy less kWh, they pay less into these programs, effectively leaving the remaining non-solar customers to foot more of the bill for these expenses.

    There's probably other components I'm not thinking of right now, but those are some examples...
     
  4. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    It's important to keep in mind that the 'subsidies' change significantly depending on how much solar is installed. Studies have consistently shown that at low levels (<10%) under net metering there is a reverse subsidy where the value of solar is actually higher than retail since it's generated and consumed locally without transmission. As density increases (>20%) that does shift and under a net-metering scheme this would place a burden on other rate payers. But we're not even close to those levels and a more practical rate structure would be to end net-metering and simply buy exported power at or near wholesale. But this isn't what's happening in NM and NV. The utilities have structured rates to place DER at a disadvantage over centralized power.

    This is how rate structures should be done... a 3rd party analysis of the value of solar.

    Not a commission hand out to their financiers.

    The fact that DER is treated so differently from state to state; Even in areas that have the same generation mix like TX and NM should immediately raise suspicion.
     
  5. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Thanks nwdiver, I guess what also bothers me is that all the marketing that is done by power companies talks about all the things you can do to low your power bills and how green they are and we are trying to help you save money. Our power company Pacific Graft and Extortion just removed the tou schedule that was solar friendly and said it was because everyone has done such a good job of using power in off peak times that they had to readjust those time to more accurately reflect the new peak times. The fact that the regulator CPUC lets them do this is also frustrating.
     
  6. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    I see 3 solutions to the War on Solar.

    1) Federal action mandating 3rd party review of pricing

    2) Break the monopoly like in Texas. Separate Generation, Transmission and Sales so there's no conflict of interest

    3) Replace corrupt utility commissioners

    I think option 2 is most likely since it's already happened.... I used to hate the deregulated, free-market utility ecosystem in Texas since they didn't have net-metering. I've come to realize there are far far worse things than no net metering... like being charged for the energy that comes off your roof and gets consumed in your home....

    Net-Metering is no longer our Friend and must die.
     
  7. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    This issue has been discussed down to an irrationally granular level in the Investor Forum SCTY thread. Check it out.
     
  8. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

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  9. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    Maybe we're witnessing some billionaire's personal spats. Elon Musk & Tesla Motors vs. Warren Buffet & BYD (he owns 10% of BYD)...

    In Buffet's defense, he's protecting his investment on our backs. Lovely.... (sarcasm).

    And TheTalkingMule is right, go check out the SCTY thread. Great insight in there.
     
  10. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    The amount of money Berkshire is taking out of the state of Nevada is staggering. The fact that they're not rioting in the streets is strange to me.

    NV Energy made $750M last year, more than the entire Vegas Strip combined, at a time where they shouldn't really be able to make a dime if they were forced to compete with residential solar.
     
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    #11 Ampster, Feb 27, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
    I agree about their marketing double talk. I don't agree about the change you are talking about if it was was a shift in times of the rate window.
    About a year ago SCE shifted the peak rate window such that morning and midday production was at a lower rate. They also extended the peak period to 8pm past when solar is productive. At first I was pissed, but someone on this forum posted that the new rate window more closely resembles the California ISO load profile. That seemed only fair to me. Even with the new rate window I still generated a $500 credit at the end of my true up period. That credit washes out because I am a net consumer of kWhrs. I am able to do a lot of load shifting, so I can arbitrage and game the rate differences. What happened in Nevada and California are not comparable.
     
  12. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    Buffett in his annual letter referred to today's generation as the "luckiest in history". LOL....the absolute peak of income inequality and they're " lucky"? They have it relatively easy, but easy with no prospects is hardly lucky.
     
  13. Blue_Model_S

    Blue_Model_S Member

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    @Merill PG&E is not advertising this, but before March 1, you can switch to E6 (if you were on E7, or any other tariff). After that day E6 will not be available for new transfers. E6 is great if you have solar panels. So hurry if it helps you.
     
  14. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Thanks, found out about this months ago and switched last month. We will see about E6 vs E7, what was working well was only having 2 tou times, peak and off peak. No we have peak, off peak and partial peak. We had everything we could to run at off peak times and they also moved peak from 12-6 to 1-7 so will lose some of that peak generation credits. Now we have to have the oven and stove top run during partial peak unless we cook before 5pm or after 9pm. I'm looking into adding some solar panels if I can to help off set the higher bills, on E6 they raise the rates for off peak and lowered the rates for peak. If you are all electric like myself and have done everything you can to lower your energy bills not sure how I would get around some of the tou times with E6, maybe eat out or after 9pm.
     
  15. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    I am all electric also. I don't know what loads you have shifted, but I moved my water heater and charging to the super off peak rates. I also bought a heat pump water heater that saved 3000kWhrs a year. If you are thinking of more solar panels, consider orienting them more westerly if your roof and system will accommodate that. Finally, I purchased an induction cooktop that is also more efficient. We create enough credit during the sunny months to not worry about a few hours of usage during the peak.
     
  16. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Yes, water heater is on a timer comes on during off peak and for just enough time to warm up the water. The solar panels are SW and it is the only location possible. Pool now filters also off peak and all mechanicals are new and energy efficient, all lights are led and we never use the A/C and heat mostly with efficient wood burning fire place. May look into the induction cook top.
     
  17. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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  18. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Right behind you...
    Hopefully the distribution grid will become as deregulated as the transmission grid. Everyone will pay fixed grid fees and the rest will be decided by the markets.
     
  19. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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    Some truth to what you say but my biggest complaint is that your view promotes waste in the form of inefficient consumption.

    Say I have a well insulated house and efficient AC, and efficient lighting, and efficient appliances and I only use 500 kWh per month. Fixed monthly fees punish me.

    My neighbor has incandescent bulbs, not enough insulation, a crappy AC unit, leaves his lights on all the time, etcetera and uses 2000 kWh per month in a similar size home. Those fixed fees don't scale.

    I'm against growing the fixed fees because it doesn't provide economic forcing to prod people into making their house more efficient.

    I'd rather see a rate increase and have my neighbor pay for his poor choices instead of a base fee increase and make me pay for his poor choices.

    What he or I do have nothing to do with the source of the energy, rather about the amount we use.

    I'd hate to see anti solar policy promote over consumption of electricity just because it isn't accurately reflecting the cost of higher consumption.

    Maybe its different in your part of the country but we only have one rate for residential here so there isn't any sort of penalty for high consumption in my state.
     
  20. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    #20 nwdiver, Feb 28, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
    When you say 'fixed' do you mean $X/kWp or you're connected... you pay $Y regardless of how much, little, how or when you use the grid...

    In other news... I was very excited to see that EarthJustice is sending counsel to join the fight in NM...
     

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