Action #1: Stop them!
Just as the Biden Administration is working to catch up to CA’s ambitious climate plan, our own California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), wants to slam the brakes and impose the harshest penalty fees on solar users of any state.
They moan that the solar panel owners are forcing others to pay more than $200 a year in additional costs to maintain the network. Their answer to solving this issue? Helping EVERYBODY get access to solar panels?
Their solution is to make solar users pay an average of $57 per month, nearly $700 per year, taking solar energy out of reach of the low-income consumers they pretend to care about. Meanwhile, no one’s utility bills will go down, we’ll be left more vulnerable to climate-change power interruptions and pollution, the solar industry will implode AND utility interests will make a huge profit! Business as usual for an agency repeatedly accused of corruption and mismanagement. Here’s how we fight back!
The CPUC’s proposal is a near-carbon copy of what PG&E and the other utilities have pushed for months. If Gov. Newsom doesn’t step in, these changes will be finalized by January 27th and go into effect this spring. More details are below.
ASK #1: Please call Governor Newsom’s office today (9 am – 5 pm weekdays). Even if you already made a call, do it again and get your friends to phone tree this baby. We need to flood his office with calls this week.
Sample script: My name is ___ and I live in ____. I am against the proposed Solar Penalty Fee and I’m against slashing the value of rooftop solar 80%! Nobody should pay a penalty for putting solar panels on their roof and our climate-change driven fires, blackouts and pollution show that California should be doing more, not less, to promote rooftop solar. Say no to the utilities’ profit grab, and yes to actively assisting millions of our working and middle class residents to access solar technology for their homes.
Also, the Governor is going to have an opportunity to replace Martha Guzman Aceves, one of the key board members behind this regressive and deceptive policy change. Tell him to choose someone who will keep CA’s commitment to solar energy and continue to make our state an inspiration to the rest of America.
- Call here: (916) 445-2841
- Email here. (govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/) (Subject is “Public Utilities Commission”).
ASK 2: Post a message on your social media account.
Here’s a sample: California should not charge people a monthly penalty fee for putting solar panels on their rooftops. @GavinNewsom we need you to #SaveSolar
ASK 3: Call in to share your thoughts with the CPUC. Are you (1) a renter; (2) earn below 80% of household income (whether or not you rent or are a homeowner); and/or (3) live in a disadvantaged community or other frontline community? Can you call the CPUC meeting tomorrow (Thursday)? Please respond here or email to email@example.com for more info!
Here are the details of the CPUC’s proposed decision.
1) $57 per month solar penalty fee for putting solar panels on the roof. The more solar panels, the larger the fee. This includes apartment buildings, new homes built with solar per the state mandate, and solar-powered batteries. The fee would be the largest in the U.S.A.
2) 80% cut to the credit solar users get for sharing surplus solar energy with the grid. The credit would drop from an average of twenty-fve cents per kilowatt hour to about fve cents. This cut happens immediately; we predict it will end the solar market overnight.
3) Rolls back protections for existing solar users. Existing solar users are currently protected from changes to net metering rules for 20 years from the date their system turned on. The CPUC is now proposing to reduce that protection to 15 years, and eliminate the protection altogether if you accept their battery rebate.The CPUC’s proposal is a terrible deal for all working and middle class people regardless of income level. The CPUC claims that their proposal helps low-income people afford solar by exempting them from the solar penalty fee while providing a subsidy of $15 a month for ten years. But we ran the numbers and it doesn’t pencil out. Solar would still be more expensive for low-income people than the status quo.
Now is the time to fight and fight hard. The CPUC cannot be allowed to wring their hands over rising energy bills, blackouts and climate change while also taking rooftop solar away from the working and middle class at the behest of PG&E.
Do not be discouraged. Remember the public is on our side and Governor Newsom has yet to weigh in. Over 120,000 people like you signed an official public comment. Over 600 nonprofit organizations and community leaders and school districts have joined the fight. And the editorial boards of the three largest papers, the Sacramento Bee, SF Chronicle and LA Times have all weighed in on our side. Let’s keep building the pressure. Together, we can save solar and protect everyone’s right to the sun.Thank you for everything you do, Igor