The Solar Surcharge

This is interesting:

California utilities oppose efforts to expand net-metering programs. Solar customers, who typically sell power to the grid when the sun is shining and use the income to offset charges for using electricity at night or on cloudy days, “are just using our system as a storage device,” said Jazayeri. “They should pay something for that service.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-17/california-utilities-say-solar-raises-costs-for-non-users.html

11 years ago when we built our off-grid home there was a lot of people that told us we're nuts. You can't do it, it won't work, you won't last two months, and on and on. As time has progressed, yes, it cost us a lot of money to do it. But not as much as it would've cost to hook up to utility power. For the first 8 years our lives would've been more comfortable on utility power. But what we have today rivals any utility connected home.

When I hear about things like the above, is when I know our decision 11 years ago was the right one. In the next 5 years, for those connected to utility services, it's only going to get worse.
--
Chris
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Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,023 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    I think one of the Mods here has seen something that he believes gives utilities the right to charge 'Off Grid' people for vacating power lines! It should be an interesting 20 years or so...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    Photowhit wrote: »
    I think one of the Mods here has seen something that he believes gives utilities the right to charge 'Off Grid' people for vacating power lines! It should be an interesting 20 years or so...
    I think you are right to use "vacating" in your description.
    If there had at any time been a POCO service to the property, that standby fee might be possible. (In CA the water company can charge you even after they have removed the meter and you have no way of getting service.) Another argument for grid tie instead of off-grid if you have service available.
    But for a property which never had POCO service and does not have POCO lines coming to the property line, I think it would have a very hard time standing up in court.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,023 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    inetdog wrote: »
    I think you are right to use "vacating" in your description.
    If there had at any time been a POCO service to the property, that standby fee might be possible. (In CA the water company can charge you even after they have removed the meter and you have no way of getting service.) Another argument for grid tie instead of off-grid if you have service available.
    But for a property which never had POCO service and does not have POCO lines coming to the property line, I think it would have a very hard time standing up in court.

    I actually have power right of way running through my property, I'll disconnect next month. I don't expect problems, but they couldn't possibly charge me much, as there isn't even an extra pole. Then again they charge $25 a month for a user fee, for the priviledge of buying electric from them...

    Attachment not found.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    inetdog wrote: »
    I think you are right to use "vacating" in your description.
    If there had at any time been a POCO service to the property, that standby fee might be possible.

    I had read, at one point, about somebody in one of the western states that had utility power, installed solar and batteries and disconnected from it. They got evicted from their home based on some official deciding that off-grid does not meet health standards or something like that. There was also a case like that in the Midwest here, near the Twin Cities area. I believe in both cases, they forced the people to hook back up to the utility because their homes were declared "unfit" to live in with off-grid power.
    --
    Chris
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    The utilities are "using" our air as their dumping ground. I think they should pay something for that.
    The bottom line is that no man is an island. We need to work together for a better way of powering our lives. If that means distributed generation, depending on a much larger share of clean, affordable, sustainable solar, then the publicly regulated utilities can damn well get on board and be the distribution network that ties it all together.
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    I had read, at one point, about somebody in one of the western states that had utility power, installed solar and batteries and disconnected from it. They got evicted from their home based on some official deciding that off-grid does not meet health standards or something like that. There was also a case like that in the Midwest here, near the Twin Cities area. I believe in both cases, they forced the people to hook back up to the utility because their homes were declared "unfit" to live in with off-grid power.

    Similar situation in Spain. I installed an off-grid system for a friend living in a nearby town who converted an old barn and he couldn't apply for the certificate that says his house is a house because it wasn't connected to the grid. Can still live in it, but can't apply for home insurance.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    The thing with utilities is that they have a guaranteed bottom line. If they fall short of that because of decreased sales then they apply with the PSC for a rate increase to get the bottom line back up. As a utility customer you are not paying only for infrastructure - you are also paying for executives that pull down 6 figure incomes with bonuses and paid benefits.

    Over the last 11 years of off-grid living here, the utility rates have increased by 3.7x what they were in 2002. NOTHING is being maintained or improved. There are poles going thru swamps where the poles are leaning at a 45 degree angle - basically being held up by the wires from the poles on good ground, and they go down when a storm comes thru. Then they prop them back up by pulling the pole up and bolting a brace pole to it. But it's not fixed until it stops working, even though it has obvious problems.

    In the last 11 years the electric co-op has built a brand new fancy office building, the executives are all making 150,000+/year incomes, the standby generators that they are required to have being a reseller of Xcel Energy power are sitting with the fuel tanks empty and have not been run or maintained in 9 years. Power regularly goes out to large areas for two weeks at a time during winter ice events or summer storms because of the disrepair condition of the rural lines.

    And this is what utility customers have gotten in return for paying 3.7x more for their electricity today than it cost 11 years ago. For us, it hasn't been easy at some points in the last 11 years to keep the power on. But it has never gone out once in those 11 years for more than a few minutes due to a dead battery bank a couple times and inverter low voltage shutdown.

    When you live off-grid you sort of lose track of what is going on with this because you basically don't care. I have always told people that living off-grid is more expensive than living on-grid because of things like our battery bank ($9,000). But really, we have come out far on top by not being "hooked up". It would've cost us $168,000 at the time (11 years ago) to get lines run and we have not spent that on equipment here. Our generator fuel bill was $176 for January and $102 for February. That's "bad" - but live as good today as our neighbor 5 miles up the road and he told me the other day that his electric bill was $360 for the month of February and the power went out twice for him there during the month for 5 minutes one time and a half hour another time.

    So I an happy with our decision today. Every time we buy a new piece of equipment it's expensive, like our new inverter. But I also sold the old one for what I paid for it, and you tend to not take that into account when you write out the check for the new one because the check is Big. I also tend to look at things the way it was 11 years ago when we made the decision to live off-grid. But when I take into account what has happened in that time for people with utility power, vs what has happened for us not using it - we have come out better than the utility customers. Not only financially, but from a reliability standpoint too, and the fact that we have control over where our power comes from - we own the "power company" here.

    When I read this thing about the power company coming up with a new twist to protect their bottom line - charging RE customers for using their grid as a "storage device", that's when I know I want nothing to do with being a utility customer.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Kind of reminds me of the Amish homes where I used to live: law required residences to have service, so they had service. They didn't use it, but they had it. Paying for nothing. Some of them stopped paying and guess what? The meters were pulled. End of problem. These days it looks like they'd still get charged - or evicted? It's insane.

    So on the one hand we have the politicians telling us to "go green" and on the other we have them allowing this sort of behaviour which ultimately makes it impossible.

    If BC Hydro decides I should be paying them to not have service at my cabin miles from any existing electric lines ... that's when I quit.

    Time to demand a sensible national energy policy. Are we allowing GT solar or not? "Allowing" it with restrictions that make it too expensive or complicated to achieve is not allowing it.

    Unfortunately we know who has the money for lawyers, and it ain't us.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    Kind of reminds me of the Amish homes where I used to live: law required residences to have service, so they had service. They didn't use it, but they had it. Paying for nothing. Some of them stopped paying and guess what? The meters were pulled. End of problem. These days it looks like they'd still get charged - or evicted? It's insane.

    It's not that way everywhere. There is no law or ordnance here that says you have to be hooked up or have service. There is a large Amish community about 25 miles from us and they have never bothered them there or told them they have to have electric service. The Amish that live there have batteries and solar panels and small wind turbines. Their systems are quite small and Spartan. But they do have electric lights and there is one fellow that has a large system and powers a shop with it where he builds some of the best furniture you can buy anywhere. We had that guy build our kitchen cabinets and they are made of real oak with maple lining and shelves - and we got them for half the price of what quality cabinets like that would've cost from a commercial manufacturer.

    But for the most part it is as you say in many parts - insane. But it is nice that distributed generation RE power sources have made enough difference for the utility companies to start complaining about it. That's when the masses and politicians see that it DOES work and that is just MIGHT be a better solution than the house-of-cards system that was set up under government regulation.
    --
    Chris
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,717 admin
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Here is the PG&E web page about departing loads. A little bit of what is on that page:

    http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/myaccount/explanationofbill/departedload/index.page
    Nonbypassable Charges

    Nonbypassable charges involve costs that have historically been included in bundled service bills but are now separately listed as line items. Customer generation departing load customers may receive bills from PG&E for these charges even if they no longer receive electric service from the company. Nonbypassable charges that may apply include:
    Public Purpose Programs — Funds efforts considered by law to benefit society, such as low-income ratepayer assistance and energy-efficiency programs.
    Nuclear Decommissioning — A fee to restore plant sites to as near their original condition as possible once they are shut down.
    Trust Transfer Amount (TTA) — The cost of repaying state-authorized bonds used to refinance — at better terms — a portion of past investments previously included in rates and authorized by the CPUC. This charge applies only to accounts qualified for the 10 percent rate reduction.
    In Decision 03-04-030, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) determined that customer generation departing load customers may also be required to pay a Cost Responsibility Surcharge (CRS). The CRS includes the following nonbypassable charges:
    • Department of Water Resources (DWR) Bond Charge — recovers past under collections of DWR procurement costs initially paid out of the state's general fund and later repaid from the proceeds of DWR's bond issue
    • DWR Power Charge — recovers DWR's going-forward uneconomic power contract costs
    • Regulatory Asset Charge — recovers costs associated with the regulatory asset adopted by the CPUC in Decision 03-12-035
    • Competition Transition Charge (CTC) — recovers the utilities' uneconomic power contract and employee transition costs
    If you believe your generating facility should be exempt from some or all of these charges, you will need to complete an Application for Customer Generation Cost Responsibility Surcharge Tariff Exemption (PDF, 80 KB). A completed application must be sent to both PG&E, to determine tariff exemption eligibility, and to the California Energy Commission (CEC) to execute its responsibilities with regard to managing the statewide megawatt cap. PG&E will first make a provisional determination as to whether the generating facility qualifies for available exemptions. You need not submit an application if the customer generation system is "clean" (including net-metered systems), under 1 megawatt (mw), and eligible for participation in either the CPUC's self-generation incentive program or similar CEC program.
    If you believe your facility should be exempt from the CTC, you must submit an Affidavit in Support of Claim of Competition Transition Charge Exemption Under Public Utilities Code Section 372 (PDF, 52 KB). However, if you complete an application, you need only sign the affidavit and attach the application. The affidavit should be submitted to PG&E with your notification letter.
    Likewise, if you believe your facility should be exempt from the DWR Power Charge, you must submit an Affidavit in Support of Claim of DWR Power Charge Exemption Under Public Utilities Code Section 353.2 (PDF, 54 KB). However, if you complete an application, you need only sign the affidavit and attach the application. This affidavit should also be submitted to PG&E with your notification letter.
    Within 10 calendar days of receipt of the completed and signed application, PG&E will notify you in writing of the following:
    • Provisional categorization of the generating facility.
    • Conditions that must be met before final categorization will be granted.
    • A description of the Cost Responsibility Surcharge (CRS) that you will be exempt or not exempt from paying.
    Final categorization and notice will be made only after PG&E and the CEC confirm that the installation qualifies for the exemption

    Nothing like a few pages of forms for bureaucrats to shuffle...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Bill - if I understand all that correctly; They're going to charge somebody that goes off-grid because they feel they're "responsible" for some of these things?

    How can this hold up in court when there was no contract signed in the first place, saying you're responsible for these things, when the customer hooked up to the utility power? It's a monthly service, for pete's sake, that people pay for. What makes an electric utility different than, say, a cable TV company? So you got cable TV service and you disconnect it to get satellite instead - and the cable TV company can continue to charge you for whatever?

    This is pure insanity. No - pure stupidity.
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Here's how it is in here:
    Idle billing charges (electric only)

    Some rural electricity sites are subject to idle billing charges whether service is physically connected or not. These charges are levied by the distributor to recover the costs to maintain the transmission lines and to keep the site connected to the provincial power grid.

    If you have a rural electricity site that you are requesting to be disconnected, it is your responsibility to inquire about idle billing charges. It is not uncommon for energy providers to hold back idle charges for longer periods of time and then issue a catch up bill for up to a 12-month period.

    Salvage the site

    If you do not wish to pay idle billing charges, you can request the distributor to salvage the site. This means the distributor will physically remove the meter, power poles and power lines, and your property will no longer have access to the power grid.

    Please note: Salvaging a site is usually only done when you have no plans to use electricity at that property again. The cost to reinstall the power lines, poles and meters can be thousands of dollars.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Why do I suspect that if you wanted to do the "salvage site" thing they'd expect you to pay for them to remove their equipment?

    Cynicism level just went up five points.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    I love the inclusion (use) of the "UNECONOMIC" and that they can recover those rates/costs... just what made them uneconomic?
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,976 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    There is essentially NO regulation of Utilities in CA any more. The requlation that remains is to make certain that the largest utilites are free from regulation, but Ratepayers and CUSTOMERS of Electric Utilities and wired Communication companies are snarled in volumes off things that they must comply with.

    IMHO the California Public Utilities Commission is an Owned & Operated division of the largest Utilities.

    Have a Burglar Alarm Dial Tone line at a shop building in a CA city. This Measured Business line (the lowest cost Biz line) monthly charge has gone from $46.00 to $56.00 in one step, recently. There is no competition and NO regulation of rates or performance whatsoever. Cellular is not a good solution or any real competition.

    If we do not like the situation, we can just move elsewhere. Opinions, based on experience. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Bill - if I understand all that correctly; They're going to charge somebody that goes off-grid because they feel they're "responsible" for some of these things?

    How can this hold up in court when there was no contract signed in the first place, saying you're responsible for these things, when the customer hooked up to the utility power? It's a monthly service, for pete's sake, that people pay for. What makes an electric utility different than, say, a cable TV company? So you got cable TV service and you disconnect it to get satellite instead - and the cable TV company can continue to charge you for whatever?

    This is pure insanity. No - pure stupidity.
    --
    Chris

    Well Chris, the difference in a state like California is that since the POCOs were, and to a large extent still are, regulated monopolies, the state "signed the contract" on the taxpayers' and ratepayers' behalf. That is one reason why such charges are legal, if not moral.
    When POCO has to make a capital expenditure for infrastructure, they can finance it with bonds and ask for PUC approval to add those bond costs to the regulated rates. In some cases those increases are not proportional to the usage and last for the term of the bonds. In other cases, the state is the one collecting the additional fees (not taxes, certainly not!) and POCO is just the collection agent.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    Why do I suspect that if you wanted to do the "salvage site" thing they'd expect you to pay for them to remove their equipment?

    I suspect so too. I hope that's not thousands of dollars.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    Salvage the site

    If you do not wish to pay idle billing charges, you can request the distributor to salvage the site. This means the distributor will physically remove the meter, power poles and power lines, and your property will no longer have access to the power grid.

    This is called "salvaging the site"? I actually consider it an improvement. Have you checked lately on how much off-grid property is worth as compared to grid-connected? There are people from the Big City that will pay ridiculous Top Dollar for off-grid property with a home on it set up with an off-grid power system. You advertise off-grid property in the right places and you can easily get 2x market value for it.
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    This is called "salvaging the site"? I actually consider it an improvement. Have you checked lately on how much off-grid property is worth as compared to grid-connected? There are people from the Big City that will pay ridiculous Top Dollar for off-grid property with a home on it set up with an off-grid power system. You advertise off-grid property in the right places and you can easily get 2x market value for it.

    I'm not thinking about selling. Not now anyway. The property will be off-grid, but the location is kind of on-grid.

    I know in many places in the US you pay less taxes if you're off grid, but not here.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    Why do I suspect that if you wanted to do the "salvage site" thing they'd expect you to pay for them to remove their equipment?

    I know lots of nutty people in Northern Ontario that got my wind turbines that have their own methods of dealing with that problem.

    [video=youtube_share;NLwhBpStivE]

    LOL!
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Unnecessary, illegal, and dangerous.
    To say nothing of how stupid it was to post that video. Now the power company will be able to find out who did it, and they will prosecute.

    Certainly not anything we'd advocate around here.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    I know lots of nutty people in Northern Ontario that got my wind turbines that have their own methods of dealing with that problem.

    They show the pole and you can see its shadow on the road. Then camera moves, and you can see the shadow is no longer in the same place. When the pole falls there's no wires. Not to mention that if there were wires, they would fall exactly on the cameraman.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    Unnecessary, illegal, and dangerous.
    To say nothing of how stupid it was to post that video. Now the power company will be able to find out who did it, and they will prosecute.

    Certainly not anything we'd advocate around here.

    LOL! It was one of those movie clip things he got in a iPhone or something and he patched it all together as a joke. I thought it was pretty funny myself :D
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Yes, but I still have to put up an official disclaimer against what it implies.

    There really are people out there who would try it for real.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    Yes, but I still have to put up an official disclaimer against what it implies.

    There really are people out there who would try it for real.

    Yeah, well I'll tell you what - them guys that live up around McDowell Lake up there - that would be minor compared to some of the stuff they do. They got surveillance cameras set up so they can watch to see if the Mounties or Minister of the Woods is coming so they can go hide before he gets there. LOL!

    Let me put it this way - all of our Canadian friends that live in Ontario all live off-grid, all their places look like junkyards because any time they find something that they think they might need someday they drag it home. And they're all outlaws because short of using an airplane it takes Law Enforcement 2-3 days to get to where they live. So they make their own laws. But when we go up to visit, gosh, do we ever have a lot of fun! :D
    --
    Chris
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    That vidio reminds me what happened when electric was first installed in my brother,s area. The electric poles come down the road on my brothers side of the road to just before his property and go to other side of road till it gets past his property. Then they come to his side of road again. The owner at the time told the power co. he didn,t want any electric poles on his property. He told the power co that his saw would cut them poles down the same as trees. :Dsolarvic:D
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    solarvic,
    i'm surprised they let the guy threaten them like that and caved to his wishes. they can put them anywhere they want to under eminent domain and any willful destruction of the poles would warrant an arrest for destroying utility property.
  • chevensteinchevenstein Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    Niel, it's not always as simple as that. One of the reasons I am off grid is that the local utility will not extend lines without an easement from each property owner where the lines must pass and not all property owners around here grant such easements. Yes, I could use eminent domain to successfully litigate for the right to purchase an easement (at a very high cost - plus the expensive surveys) and could ultimately get the lines extended, but practically speaking if you don't want poles on your property here there will be no poles on your property.

    On the destruction issue, I am reminded of a problem that a company I used to work for had building utility projects in the Caribbean: copper thieves would steal wire and equipment almost as fast as it could be installed in some places. It was illegal there too, but as we well know the illegality of an act does not prevent it. It took posting men with guns on site 24/7 until the projects were built to solve the problem, and even then there were probably issues but they weren't our problem at that point!
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge
    On the destruction issue, I am reminded of a problem that a company I used to work for had building utility projects in the Caribbean: copper thieves would steal wire and equipment almost as fast as it could be installed in some places. It was illegal there too, but as we well know the illegality of an act does not prevent it.

    A few years ago they tried to run a power line thru the North Woods here to some town that they figured needed power for "economic development". The people don't give a flyin hoot about "economic development". But they don't like somebody blazing a trail thru the North Woods to put in a power line. People set up on hills from a 1/2 mile away with Barrett .50's and .300 Weatherby Mags and shot insulators off the highline faster than they could strap the wires to 'em.

    They gave up on putting in that power line.
    --
    Chris
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: The Solar Surcharge

    the utility is the one that goes eminent domain, not the customer and they can't justify eminent domain for 1 customer. if they show it is for the greater good to push a power line through, the utility goes to the puc, or whatever is in charge, to get it approved at the utility's expense, which they pass along to all customers.
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