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2013-07-27. On Rooftops, a Rival for Utilities.

posted Jul 27, 2013, 11:12 PM by Alan Gould
 For GSS Energy Use chapter 5. Excerpt:  For years, power companies have watched warily as solar panels have sprouted across the nation’s rooftops.  ...utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power. ...In Arizona, for example, the country’s second-largest solar market, the state’s largest utility is pressuring the Arizona Corporation Commission, which sets utility rates, to reconsider a generous residential credit and impose new fees on customers, months after the agency eliminated a commercial solar incentive. In North Carolina, Duke Energy is pushing to institute a new set of charges for solar customers as well. Nowhere, though, is the battle more heated than in California, home to the nation’s largest solar market and some of the most aggressive subsidies. ...At the heart of the fight is a credit system called net metering, which pays residential and commercial customers for excess renewable energy they sell back to utilities. ...Some keep the credit in line with the wholesale prices that utilities pay large power producers, which can be a few cents a kilowatt-hour. But in California, those payments are among the most generous because they are tied to the daytime retail rates customers pay for electricity, which include utility costs for maintaining the grid. ... “If the costs to maintain the grid are not being borne by some customers, then other customers have to bear a bigger and bigger portion,” said Steve Malnight, a vice president at Pacific Gas and Electric. “As those costs get shifted, that leads to higher and higher rates for customers who don’t take advantage of solar.”....  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/business/energy-environment/utilities-confront-fresh-threat-do-it-yourself-power.html. Diane Cardwell, New York Times.