SCE Proposes Monthly Charge For Residential Solar Producers To Cover Infrastructure Costs


Southern California Edison (SCE) has filed a proposal in the net-energy metering (NEM) successor tariff proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission.

SCE's proposal includes a request for a monthly charge of $3 for each kilowatt of installed solar electric capacity to cover the cost of grid infrastructure and operations. The utility cites the improving economics of photovoltaic systems and the increasing effect of distributed generation (DG) sources on the power system.

In addition to the monthly charge, SCE would only pay retail rates for surplus electricity that solar customers export to the grid. However, the utility says all of its customers who currently have rooftop PV systems installed on their roofs and customers who install such systems before July 1, 2017, or earlier if the state caps are reached, would be grandfathered under the existing NEM program for 20 years.

The key points of SCE's proposal are as follows:

  • Participating customers first consume their self-generated energy on-site with no payment to the utility;
  • Participating customers purchase additional energy they need from the utility at the usual retail rate;
  • The utility fairly compensates participating customers for self-generated energy exported to the grid; and
  • The utility collects a small monthly charge based on the DG system's size to recover fixed costs associated, in part, with providing access to the grid for exports and power quality services.

The proposal reads, ‘Given the improving economics of solar PV systems, and to reduce the cost shift to customers without DG systems, SCE proposes to succeed the NEM tariff with a structure that charges participating customers suitable rates for electricity purchased from the utility, pays participating customers fair prices for exported electricity and transparently conveys the cost of using the grid.’

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