The Union Recorder

Top Stories

October 2, 2013

Utilities, solar companies in fight over rates

ATLANTA —

 Sunlight is free, but if you use it to make electricity your power company wants you to pay.

Utilities in many states say solar-friendly rate plans, conceived to promote alternative energy sources, are too generous and allow solar customers to avoid paying for the grid even though they use it.

Some power companies are proposing an extra fee for solar customers. Others are trying to roll back or block programs that allow those customers to trade the solar power they generate during sunny days for power they need from the grid during other times.

As rooftop solar expands from a niche product to a mainstream way to save money on power bills, utilities are afraid they will lose so many customers — and revenue — that they won't be able to afford to build and maintain the grid.

"We want to make sure that as we change the way our system works that all of that is good for all customers," said Greg Roberts, vice president of pricing and planning at Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power. The utility is proposing additional fees for renewable energy users, including one that would add up to about $22 per month for typical home solar systems.

Solar installers say the utility industry is trying to hold onto customers — and protect profits — as U.S. homes and businesses become more efficient and generate their own electricity. Rooftop solar systems would not be economical with some of the new fees or rate changes being pushed by utilities.

"They are trying to punish people for buying less electricity," says Bryan Miller, vice president for public policy at Sunrun, a solar financing company. "They are trying to kill solar."

Mike Easterwood, who paid about $320,000 to install nearly 400 solar panels on top of his self-storage business near Atlanta, says the new charges are designed to discourage people from installing new systems if they go into effect next year as proposed.

Text Only
Top Stories
Poll
AP Video
Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday