PG&E among utilities looking to cut subsidies on solar homes

Providers claim law overcharges renters and homeowners who don’t use solar $3B

Los Angeles /
Mar.March 19, 2021 10:45 AM
PG&E CEO Patricia K. Poppe, San Diego Gas & Electric CEO Caroline Winn and Southern California Edison  CEO Kevin M. Payne. (Getty, PG&E, SDGE, Edison)
PG&E CEO Patricia K. Poppe, San Diego Gas & Electric CEO Caroline Winn and Southern California Edison CEO Kevin M. Payne. (Getty, PG&E, SDGE, Edison)

PG&E and two other large California utilities want the state to reduce subsidies and compensation to homeowners who use solar power systems.

The companies — including Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — say customers who don’t use solar are charged a combined $3 billion annually to subsidize solar customers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The companies this week filed a joint proposal with state regulators to change policy. The proposal would only affect new customers, not existing customers, according to the report.

he proposal targets two facets of the state’s 25-year-old solar incentive program. It would reduce the bill credit that solar customers receive for the excess energy they send back to the power grid and would institute a $12 to $24 monthly connection charge for new solar customers.

Solar power advocates say that profits motivate the proposal.

“Their need to increase profits cuts against the consumer’s right to choose where and how to generate clean, reliable energy,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, the executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association, said in a statement.

In 2018, California required all new homes built after 2020 to have solar panel power systems. It was the first state in the country to adopt such a measure.

PG&E and Southern California Edison have come under immense financial pressure over their roles in starting deadly wildfires in the state over the last few years.

PG&E declared bankruptcy in early 2019 and later agreed to pay more than $1 billion to local governments and residents affected by 2018’s Camp Fire in Northern California.

More than 100 residents sued Southern California Edison for damages related to the Woolsey Fire in L.A. and Ventura counties that same year.

[LAT] — Dennis Lynch 


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