Energy / Fixed Rate Hikes

Regulators largely deny utility requests for fixed charge increases

A policy report finds that while utilities are increasingly asking to increase fixed charges, that in more than half of recent cases these requests were denied

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RALEIGH, NC — “Utilities have used a variety of tactics to change the economics of customer-sited rooftop PV away from retail-rate net metering, and to recoup a larger portion of the revenue that they lose when customers are wiping out their net electricity usage.

These include attempting to reduce compensation for electricity exported to the grid, implementing charges solely on PV system owners, and increasing the fixed charge portion of customer bills.

The final approach – increased fixed charges – has been the most popular with utilities. According to North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center’s (NCCETC) Q2 2016 50 States of Solar report increased fixed charges were the most common policy being decided in the 42 states that took some form of action on distributed solar policy.

NCCETC reports that 42 utilities in 25 states and Washington D.C. either had pending or decided requests to increase monthly fixed charges on residential customers by at least 10% during Q2. This is actually down from Q1, when 61 utilities in 30 states proposed fixed charge increases. Overall, more than 1/5 of all U.S. investor-owned utilities have proposed such increases.”

— Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

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