The California Public Utilities Commission releases long-awaited study on the cost impacts of Net Energy Metering.
California Net Energy Metering (NEM) Draft Cost-‐Effectiveness Evaluation
Prepared by E3 for the California Public Utilities Commission
Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director, California Solar Energy Industries Association
September 26, 2013 - The E3 Draft Study on the cost effectiveness of Net Energy Metering in California is inherently flawed and already out of date. Meanwhile, rooftop solar power continues to provide important benefits to the state including reduced air pollution, local jobs, and grid stability.
The draft study is flawed because it includes cost estimates of solar electricity generated and consumed on-site by a solar home, school or business. All solar electricity generated and consumed on-site has the same zero impact on other ratepayers as energy efficiency. If a homeowner installed a more energy efficient refrigerator or windows, are they causing harm to their fellow ratepayers who didn’t make such investments? Of course not. In fact, it has been a long-standing policy principal in California that reducing electricity demand, whether through conservation, energy efficiency, or through self-generation, provides net economic and social benefits for the state.
The E3 Draft Study is also already out of date given the impending changes to residential rate structures and fees called for by AB 327 (Perea) which passed the state legislature two weeks ago and is sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting his expected signature.
It is important to note that this study was the direct product of utility-backed legislation, AB 2514 (Bradford), which stipulated the parameters and the questions asked in the study. As any researcher will tell you, the questions being asked are as important as the answers. Utilities have long been threatened by their customers becoming electricity generators. There is a natural conflict of interest in a utility stipulating the parameters of any study that looks at customer-sited solar power.
CALSEIA looks forward to commenting further on this study and to working with California regulators to improve the data and transparency associated with the true costs and the benefits of customer-sited solar power.
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