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Let's revisit the net metering/rooftop solar debate which has really blown up with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decision to do a major revamp of the financial structure the system.
In the November 'Foghorn' I wrote that with all the PR, eco/jobs spin being thrown at us by the solar industry we really had no choice except to wait and see what numbers the PUC staff would come up with and how they would play into the decision process.
Well, some very interesting numbers are out there now and I'd like to offer them to you because they have not been reported in the local papers. The mechanics of the decision, the reduction of the rate NV Energy will pay to rooftop generators, the increase in the monthly service charge to them have been but not some other pretty important points. For that info we have to go to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial Tuesday 12/29/15, "Nevada Solar Flare."
Let's start with the big one: according to the WSJ the Nevada PUC staff estimates non-solar ratepayers subsidize solar users in southern Nevada $623 a year and most of that revenue flows to the big investors in companies like Solar City and SunRun. Investors with name such as JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Doesn't that give you a nice warm and fuzzy feeling? The letters to the editor page is burning up with outrage from rooftop solar owners and lessees about how government has "changed the rules after the fact." That is simply not accurate. Again, from the WSJ, "Solar customers must sign an interconnection agreement with the NV Energy utility stipulating that, 'the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (Commission) or the Utility may amend the tariffs upon Commission approval.'" What is the matter with these people? Didn't they even bother to read what they were signing?
Here's a truly brutal zinger from the editorial for those who lease: "Most solar customers won't even
be affected UNLESS SOLAR LEASING COMPANIES JACK UP THEIR RATES TO BAIL OUT THEIR INVESTORS." (my emphasis).
What? Want to bet that too is buried somewhere in the contract nobody bothered to read?
On a lighter note I want to relate to you a phone call I got from one of our friends in an Indian call center. Normally of course I just hang up but this kid's persistence and style (if you can call it that) disarmed me a bit so I kinda let him do his thing. Let's call him Raj.
Raj: Good day Mr. Allen. I'm calling to tell you about a wonderful offer for.....
I had to laugh in spite of myself. It was fun.