Speculations on PG&E NEM 2.0?

rtotoonchiertotoonchie Registered Users Posts: 3
In PG&E territory, we are going to be seeing the Net Metering agreement change when the NEM cap of 5% is reached. As far as I can tell, it's looking like that will be reached later in this calender year.

I called PG&E a few times this year and obviously the person has no idea what I am talking about or they are holding their cards close to their chest.

I wanted to open a thread about this and see if anyone knows any further information about what the new Net Metering agreement will look like or have any educated guesses.

Thanks.

-Rob

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,641 admin
    Re: Speculations on PG&E NEM 2.0?

    I have no inside knowledge, and don't follow PG&E/Utility issues... But this is statment from 2013 where PG&E is setting their goal posts:

    http://www.pgecurrents.com/2013/02/05/helen-burt-it%E2%80%99s-time-to-reevaluate-net-energy-metering-for-solar-power/
    [h=1]Helen Burt: It’s Time to Reevaluate Net Energy Metering for Solar Power[/h] By Helen Burt

    For more than a decade, PGE& has supported our customers who choose to enjoy the cost savings and environmental benefits that solar programs have to offer. That support has not wavered.
    When customers install solar and use Net Energy Metering, they avoid paying their fair share of the electricity grid they use at night, says Helen Burt, PG&E's chief customer officer.


    By the end of 2012, we had helped almost 80,000 customers install nearly 800 megawatts (MW) of new solar, about 30 percent of all the customer-installed solar in the United States — by far the most of any utility. In addition, seven of the 10 largest solar projects under construction in the world will provide electricity for PG&E customers. PG&E’s commitment to solar energy for our customers is unparalleled.
    With that support also comes a responsibility: to protect customers who choose not to install solar or can’t afford solar.
    That’s why it’s time for every stakeholder in California’s solar revolution to examine the current Net Energy Metering program and make sure it’s the right fit for the future.
    Net Energy Metering allows electric meters to spin backward when customers produce more energy than their home or business is using at that moment. It also allows customers to essentially use the electric grid as a battery for free, storing excess energy they don’t need now to offset their usage at other times when they draw power from the grid.
    Some customers even produce more energy in a year than they use, and net metering provides for financial payments for that.
    While seemingly straightforward, Net Energy Metering creates challenges for other utility customers. By law, PG&E rates include charges to maintain the wires and equipment that make up the electricity grid. Other charges fund public purpose programs, such as helping low-income families pay their energy costs, and cover the costs of achieving the state’s 33-percent by 2020 renewable program.
    When customers install solar and use Net Energy Metering, they avoid paying their fair share of the electricity grid they use at night and of various programs that further California’s environmental and social policies. Remaining utility customers pay for the fixed costs of the electricity grid and other programs, driving their rates higher.

    From the beginning, PG&E was a proponent of Net Energy Metering, in part because it had a limited life expectancy. After a certain amount of solar was installed, the initial program would end, largely because such widespread adoption of solar would signal a thriving market that did not need further subsidy.
    This plan for market transformation has been challenged by some in the solar industry who want indefinite solar subsidies. Before any utility ever reached the original net metering target, solar advocates lobbied to double net metering without regard to the cost to other customers.

    Projects such as this one in west Fresno County with more than 200,000 solar panels show PG&E's commitment to solar power. (Currents Archive Photo.)

    Now, under the direction of AB 2514 (which the solar industry opposed), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is studying the impacts of net metering on participating and nonparticipating customers — assessing the benefits and costs, and who exactly is paying for them. However, before the CPUC study is complete, solar advocates paid for their own study using numbers that supported their position to reach a predictable conclusion.
    We support solar and want to continue to support our customers’ choice to install solar systems. But the solar industry has matured enough today to stand on its own without continued and substantial customer subsidies.
    That’s why PG&E is working with the CPUC and Legislature to find solutions for customer solar installations that mitigate or eliminate these cross-subsidies from nonsolar customers to others. We hope to find solutions that will allow both the solar industry and all of our customers to thrive.
    Helen Burt is PG&E’s chief customer officer and a senior vice president. This commentary originally appeared in the San Jose Mercury News.

    What do I think they want? Basically move connection fees from $4.50 per month and ~$0.15 per kWH (varies from $0.09 to $0.45 per kWH for Residential Net Metering--We have "tiered pricing", the more energy you use, the higher rates you pay).

    Go to $40-$96 per month connection charges and $0.08 (or whatever) per kWH pricing. This is closer to what commercial customers pay for power.

    If you have a $100 per month electric bill--You probably will pay the same amount of money per month. If you have a $4.50 per month electric bill (like me with GT solar), I will probably pay $40+ per month fixed prices and some money for kWH used (when I use more kWH than I generate).

    So, for people with GT solar and that have really minimized their energy usage (extreme conservation), won't be able to reduce power bills below the fixed monthly fee (plus a low per kWH charge).

    What will happen next? People that don't use a lot of electricity and/or have GT solar will start looking to go "off grid" and disconnect from the grid. Technically, today PG&E can collect fees from homes disconnecting from the grid (basically, the utility has taken out 30-40 year loans based on us being "part of the grid"--And we "the customer" has to pay back "our share" of those loans taken out in "our name").

    Already, I have read that there will be a 20 year "grand father period"... Where if you put a GT solar system in "this year", you will keep your rate plan until ~2035--At that point, you will be in the standard rate pool (high per month fees, low per kWH charges).

    And for people like me that have 10+ year old GT systems, we can only keep our present rate plans to date of install+20 years--So mine will "go away" in less than 10 years from now.

    Anyway--That is the 50,000 foot view that I see "as an engineer". It will be a mess--pretty much like deregulation for the phone company and competition from cable companies, pure Internet, over the air, etc. suppliers.

    No matter what I do, in the past few years, I tried to change plans for my home (wired) phone to ~$12.00 per month several times over the last few years (use cell phone/voice over IP for our outgoing calls). And the phone company keeps changing rate plans/minimum charges/taxes/etc. to bring my fees back to ~$30 per month. I am ready to unplug (my wife like the security of land lines for emergencies--Earthquakes, etc.).

    How long this will take to happen, and how it all shakes out--I have no idea.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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