On a 3-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a policy that gives financial credit to solar customers who supply energy to the grid.
In extending that net metering policy, new residential solar customers will be charged a $150 interconnection fee, electricity rates will vary depending on time of day, and there will be increased charges for public programs.
“What the Commission basically did with this decision was reject the idea that solar customers aren’t paying their fair share and instead said there are some small charges that they should begin to pay like helping low-income assistance programs,” says Bernadette Del Chiaro with the California Solar Energy Industries Association.
Investor-owned utilities wanted major changes to the program, including higher fees and an electric transmission charge. In a statement, PG&E says it’s extremely disappointed with the decision and the commission missed an opportunity to make smart energy reforms.
But commissioners who voted in favor of the policy say it strikes the right balance for solar customers and ratepayers.
"Our decision today is a big step forward towards giving California consumers more choice, more control, and more responsibility over their energy choices,” says Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission.