Southern California Edison, 2 other utilities urge PUC to vacate or modify solar 'net metering' decision

Southern California Edison and two other major California utilities have filed applications urging the California Public Utilities Commission to vacate or modify its decision that maintained certain subsidies for rooftop solar panel owners until 2019.

In January, in a 3-2 vote, the PUC kept a "net metering" policy that pays rooftop solar customers for the excess electricity their systems send back to the grid. The commission agreed to keep tying credits to retail rates, rather than wholesale rates that other states use.

Utilities say net metering is unfair to consumers who don't have solar energy systems.

Solar companies and their customers say the power their systems generate helps lower strain on the electrical grid and reduces the need to buy power during times of high demand.

The PUC also required new solar customers to pay a one-time interconnection fee that is estimated to cost $75 to $150. Other fees will go into effect for new users but don't apply to customers with solar systems already in place.

Although the commission said it would continue to reevaluate the rules, January's decision was widely viewed as a big win for solar because other states such as Nevada have rolled back some solar incentives.

Southern California Edison on Monday filed its application for a rehearing jointly with San Diego Gas & Electric, calling on the PUC to make changes to its January decision.

Pacific Gas and Electric also filed paperwork Monday, the deadline for applications for a rehearing, looking to get the commission to vacate its ruling.

The utilities were joined by the Utility Reform Network, a ratepayer advocacy group, whose calls for a "value of distributed energy" tariff were rebuffed by the PUC, and the Coalition of California Utility Employees.

The commission has 120 days to respond to the requests for a rehearing.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on March 09, 2016, in the Business section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "3 utilities urge PUC to change solar decision" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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