We just learned of a new proposal by the local utility company to implement a fixed fee on residential electricity bills. If passed, the proposal would also reduce rates for larger power consumers (i.e. businesses).
This isn’t the first time SDG&E has tried to slip in new hikes and fees.
Sometimes it’s successful. Just last year, the utility raised its rates across the board – charging some residential users 40% more for their electricity.
And more recently, SDG&E tried to completely overhaul San Diego’s net metering program. Fortunately, the pushback was strong enough from installers, residents, and green advocates that the measure was postponed for a few years.
However, the current proposal deals with changes to monthly service charges. Residential customers of SDG&E would pay a flat fee of $5 starting in 2015. That amount would go up to $10 by 2017. And thereafter, any future increases would be closely linked to inflation.
Why Should San Diego Solar Customers Be Worried?
Paying an extra $10 a month doesn’t sound like much. We’re only talking $120 extra a year.
But it represents the slow but consistent erosion of solar’s potential in San Diego.
SDG&E believes that solar customers throughout the County are getting a free ride by not paying their “fair share” of the utility grid’s upkeep. But isn’t that precisely why so many people embrace solar energy to begin with – to avoid supporting an outdated electricity network?
In other words, why should customers who receive the bulk of their energy from the sun have to pay more money to SDG&E? This is especially true when those same customers sell clean electricity to the utility company at competitive rates.
Because of solar’s rapid growth, SDG&E doesn’t have to burn as many fossil fuel inputs. The utility’s job is easier, cheaper, cleaner, and more predictable.
Solar customers should be rewarded for this – not punished.
How Much Will the Cost of Solar Energy Go Up If This Passes?
There’s no guarantee that the measure will pass. But if it does, the cost of going solar will indeed rise a little bit.
How much exactly?
That’s hard to say since we’re talking about price points that are more than 1 year away. You can only determine accurate costs, payback periods, and ROIs in the present moment. And rest assured that over the next 12 months:
- Solar panel installation costs will go down
- Incentives will evolve or expire
- Utility rates will change (i.e. go up)
- Fossil fuel costs will change (i.e. go up)
We don’t imagine that the true cost of solar power will change dramatically. But you’re almost certainly better off switching today than you will be tomorrow. For every month that you delay, you’re paying more money into an outdated electricity distribution system that is destroying the planet and wreaking havoc on your bank account.
If you’re ready to begin saving money and protecting the environment, contact us for a free quote today. It’ll be the best decision you ever made.