SDG&E, California cities propose rate hikes on solar energy

September 25, 2019 | 3min read

Update: As of 28 December 2020, the only rate increase approved was a 14.4% rate increase by Southern California Edison. The Solar Rights Alliance continues to fight to overturn the rate increase

San Diego Gas and Electric has proposed a fee increase that targets home solar owners. Currently, home solar owners are charged $10 a month for grid maintenance. SDG&E’s proposed $39 fee could wipe out a large portion of the savings that San Diego homeowners enjoy from going solar. The fee will apply to all current and new solar owners.

The city of Merced is levying a $65 per month fee on home solar users starting in November. Redding California is proposing a $10 monthly fee and a significant reduction in the net metering fees paid to solar owners for energy produced. Thankfully, the Redding plan is on hold due to community pressure. It is urgent that all California solar owners get involved right now to stop these new anti-solar fees.

SDG&E proposes a $39 fee

SDG&E claims that rooftop solar makes the grid more expensive to maintain. But research by the nonprofit group Environment America shows that the opposite is true. Home solar reduces grid operating costs and makes the grid more resilient. The rate increase must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). A decision on the proposed fee is expected by the spring of 2020. 

Thankfully a similar measure that was proposed by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) was defeated in April by citizen pressure organized by the Solar Rights Alliance (SRA). Actions planned by the Solar Rights Alliance to speak out against the $39 SDG&E fee. Updates will be posted to this page as they are announced.

City of Merced $65 monthly fee on home solar

The city of Merced is going to begin charging new home solar owners a $65 per month fee starting in November. Existing solar owners would be grandfathered in and not have to pay the new fee. However, if existing solar owners sell their home, then the new homeowner would be subject to the new fees. Just like SDG&E, the Merced Irrigation District is claiming that solar makes running the grid more expensive. 

Redding California $10 fee on reduction in net metering

Redding’s plans to levy the new $10 fee and reduce net metering rates are on hold thanks to intense community opposition. The reduction in net metering compensation would be huge. The current net metering program compensates homeowners at the rate of $0.15 per kilowatt-hour for energy produced by their solar systems. The new rate would reduce that to $0.039 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Make your voice heard with the Solar Rights Alliance

If you are ready to fight back against utilities that are working to erode the savings that come from solar, consider joining and or donating to the Solar Rights Alliance (SRA). The SRA is fighting for the rights of home solar owners in California. Your help is needed more than ever. This year, utilities killed The Solar Bill of Rights, which would have protected solar owners against fees like the ones in this article. The SRA plans to reintroduce the Solar Bill of Rights next year, and they need your help to fight for it.

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