This Week in Backwards: PSC member wants fee for solar energy users
Louisiana has laid out a bright future for solar energy with its one-time tax credit for homeowners who install solar panels, but it seems one elected official charged with overseeing utilities in the state wants to stop subsidizing the “1/10th of 1 percent of people” using solar energy in the Bayou State.
According to a report from EuniceToday.com, District 3 Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway is seeking ‘a monthly fee on just solar homes ... to offset the amount to Cleco, Entergy or whomever for those solar customers being on the grid.’
The fee, which Holloway says would be capped at $25 a month, is in addition to the fees solar users already pay to energy companies through a “net meter” that allows energy companies to both charge for electricity used from the grid and purchase electricity generated through the solar panels attached to the meter:
The home of Dianne Michon – which is located, ironically, in Sunset – is the only one in her neighborhood whose roof is laden with solar panels.
Michon, an Entergy customer, said she is a new solar power user who installed a system on her home this year.
“I’ve always wanted solar,” she said. “My husband used to live in California and they had major incentives for using solar power in that state.”
Houses with solar panels that generate electricity also come outfitted with a net meter, something that Michon said is her “declaration of energy independence.”
“They’re actually purchasing electricity from me right now,” she said. “When the arrow is going backwards, Entergy is purchasing electricity from me.”
Hearing about Holloway’s proposed, additional “utility charge,” Michon said made her angry.
“Why should I have to pay more for net metering? I don’t understand the purpose of raising the net metering fee,” she said. “Holloway said that the Public Service Commission’s job is to make sure that the electric companies keep their costs low so that we can afford to buy electricity. Well, it doesn’t look like (Holloway) is looking out for my best interest if he is going to allow the electric companies to go up on a net metering fee.”
Michon said that since using a solar power system on her home, her Entergy utility bill has shifted from what she expected for her last billing cycle. September’s average bill for her home – which last year was at around $185 – dropped to $50 this September, according to Michon.
“My total energy use for the month is probably around $25,” she said. “All these other fees that are tacked-on, made my bill $50. There’s a hurricane fee, I pay a customer fee. They add on all these things that make up half of my bill. But in reality, my bill is $25.”
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