Letters to the Editor: California has outgrown its solar rules. Utilities want a fairer system

·1 min read
GRANADA HILLS, CA - JANUARY 04, 2020: Aaron Newsom, left, an installer for the solar company, Sunrun, and Tim McKibben, a senior installer, prepare solar panels to be installed on the roof of a home in Granada Hills. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Workers install a rooftop solar energy system on a home in Granada Hills on Jan. 4, 2020. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: California's rooftop solar regulations result in electric customers without solar — including millions of renters — paying an extra $240 a year on their bills. Clearly, today's regulatory framework desperately needs reform. This isn't about utility profits; utilities won't earn an extra cent under reforms proposed to the Public Utilities Commission. ("Don't turn the lights out on California's solar rooftop revolution," editorial, April 7)

Like the utilities, consumer advocates, environmental groups and business organizations have submitted or support proposals to fix this broken system, which now requires utilities to pay rooftop solar customers more than eight times what utilities pay for the same solar energy on the wholesale market — a cost differential that gets passed onto customers. It is good to see that The Times editorial board agrees with reducing these payments.

The Times objects to proposed fees that would affect new (not existing) rooftop solar customers. Those fees generally reflect the current customer discount — a discount that is no longer needed now that the rooftop solar market has matured. Those discounts have created an unsustainable cost burden on those less able to pay it, including fixed-income seniors, renters and low-income residents.

Your editorial fails to note these proposed fees would be reduced for new low-income solar customers to help ensure all Californians can access the benefits of solar energy.

Carla J. Peterman, Rosemead

The writer is senior vice president for strategy and regulatory affairs at Southern California Edison.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.