California Expected to Authorize Fixed Fee on All Electicity Customers

A few days back we discussed the report published by the Edison Electric Institute which raised alarm bells about the threat that electric utilities from an increasing number of customers producing electricity on site, rather than purchasing it from the grid. In order to mitigate revenue losses, the institute recommended that utilities levy fixed fees on all customers to cover maintenance costs, regardless of what their source of electricity was.

It seems that their recommendations have been taken seriously. Legislators in California are expected to pass a energy-related bill which, among other things, allows the California Public Utilities Commission to charge a fixed grid maintenance fee of up to $10 per month. The bill is expected to pass the California state assembly easily.

This measure has been opposed by the Sierra Club as, according to state director Kathyrn Phillips. the measure “has no real purpose other than to discourage investment in roof-top solar and energy efficiency” because it provides a disincentive for people to adopt domestic energy production measures.

It’s quite possible, I think, that this kind of measure will be adopted in other areas, if utilities see increased adoption of more home-based production of electricity. Rooftop solar is becoming more attractive to consumers as prices of solar cells drop. Domestic LENR units seem unlikely to be available in the near future, but down the road, I think it’s certainly possible the they will become available, and could put further pressure on electric companies — who may feel forced to take more defensive action.

More information is available in this Los Angeles Times article.