El Paso Electric (EPE) proposed a rider last month that would impose a substantial penalty for solar-owning customers in its service territory.
Specifically, the utility has proposed a $2.25 per kW (system size) charge for solar customers and $1.90/kW for small wind customers, to compensate for the use of EPE’s grid. EPE estimates that this would amount to an average of $11/month for most residential customers. EPE also estimates that it has 65 residential customers with solar representing a total of 301 kW of capacity and another two customers with 6.8 kW of wind generating facilities. This proposed change would amount to about $9,365 per year in revenues for the utility.
These types of charges can have an unfavorable impact on market growth for solar and small wind. To encourage customers to “go solar,” these kinds of additional charges for net metering customers should not be allowed. San Diego Gas & Electric was recently denied the ability to collect such a charge from its renewable energy customers. At the moment, Texas does not have a safeguard like this in place. El Paso Electric serves an estimated 370,000 retail customers, with annual profits recently reaching over $100M.
Source: Control number 40094