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Public Utilities Group File Reform Proposals

Several proposals were submitted to a state agency regulating privately owned Public Utilities. The proposals were looking to change the future of net energy metering and also help manage massive cost shifts. NEM is a 25-year-old program that was established by the state to encourage its residential solar panel installation. The program gave homeowners credit for the energy they produce and shift back to the grid.

With many more households installing solar panels, individuals living in apartment complexes those who cannot install their own panels. According to Helen Gao, director of communications for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), to date, the homeowners have paid $3 billion more over the years. Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and SDG&E filed a joint proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The aim of filing such a proposal was to alter the costs each of those utilities is currently required to pay. Gao said that the existing NEM customers would not be impacted by the proposal and will be only for future solar customers. He added, “Solar customers … they are being compensated for all those other things that go into the retail rate. They are getting a credit that is compensating them way beyond the commodity than the electrons they put on the grid.”

In 1997, the state’s net metering program started via Senate Bill 656 and was revised in 2016. The revised bill included tracking the number of issues, including the cost shifts. Assembly Bill 1139 was submitted to address ratepayer relief by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).

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