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Solar energy and utilities' outdated way of doing business

To the editor: As technology is introduced in the marketplace, it appears that the old economic models no longer work. ("California solar owners face new fees, utilities say costs should be higher," Jan. 28)

California's investor-owned utility companies strongly believe that even though solar customers are using less energy from the grid, they need to pay their fair share for the fixed cost of generating electricity for non-solar customers.

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I guess this logic also should be applied to drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles as the gasoline tax pays for road infrastructure and if one is not purchasing gasoline then their roads are being subsidized by gasoline-powered vehicle owners. Likewise, those residents that replace their lawns with artificial turf must pay higher rates for water because the water districts are not collecting enough revenue to support their operations.

It is time for the old economic models for funding infrastructure to be replaced with new models that do not penalize advancements in technology.

Frank Deni, Lake Forest

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To the editor: If ensuring that solar owners "paid their share of the cost of maintaining the electronic grid" were an intrinsically fair concept, then for example we would each pay a $5 or $10 flat fee at a gas station for oil company infrastructure, regardless of whether we purchased two gallons or 20, and have a $20 or more monthly fee on our cellphone bills, regardless of whether we used 10 minutes or 1,000.

This doesn't happen, because if it did we would instantly switch to a competitor, which we cannot do with electric, gas and water utilities. Utilities use this ploy to generate income lost to conservation and to minimize potential cash flow problems from pricing inflexibility caused by government regulations.

Sadly, flat fees in utility billing dilute and stifle certain consumer conservation behaviors and can be highly regressive, penalizing low use and fixed income households with significantly inflated charges per unit used.

Richie Locasso, Hemet 

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