Lets discuss net metering and PSC possible changes (1 Viewer)

BHM

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Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway is wanting to change the net metering rules. this seems to be an ongoing thing.

No need to read the link unless you want more background info.

Louisiana Public Service Commission looks to revamp how solar users are billed | NOLA.com

For those that do not know what net metering is, it is really simple. The utility company puts a special meter on your home. You consume electricity and the meter spins. At the end of the month, you get a bill. Now lets say you install a bunch of shiny solar panels on your roof and you produce more electricity than you are consuming. During those times, the meter spins backwards and you are essentially selling power back to the utility company.

I listen to Mr. Holloway's comments this morning and would like to discuss one topic in particular. That being the rate which the utility has to pay to purchase your excess electricity. As it stands right now, they must purchase the power at the retail price. .

Holloway wants that changed to a lower rate. Basically, the wholesale rate for discussion purposes. The solar industry is of course fighting that but I wanted to hear your opinion on this. From what I can figure, this desired change is being pushed by the utility companies but I might be wrong about that.

My opinion is that it is not fair to require the utility company to buy the power at retail. It should be the wholesale price.

The utility company must install and maintain the lines, poles and transformers to provide your home with power. In exchange, they bill you for consumption. If we have 20 homes on one street, the revenue from those 20 homes provides enough money for the UC to install and maintain their services.

Now all of a sudden, half of those homes have solar panels and are purchasing very little power. The UC still has the same costs to maintain the service provided but now lost half their revenue. On top of that, they must purchase excess power at full retail, turn around and resell it at zero profit.

What is your opinion, should the UC pay retail or wholesale for the power they have to purchase from customers with solar panels?
 

LSSpam

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I agree, in principal. As you stated, there are labor, material, and overhead cost related to the distribution network required to make electricity "saleable". Obviously you're to going to pay to help upkeep power lines and generators, so why should your electricity sell for the same price?

That said, there'd need to be some oversight into the prices set, due to the effective monopolistic structure of power comapnies. But there is already oversight, if I'm correct, in what prices the electric company sets. So the regulatory structure for that already exists.
 

buzd

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Point of order: your meter doesn't technically "run backwards" - it records two values, that which you've used from the grid, and that which you have supplied the grid.

I'd have to look at the bill, but I'm pretty sure that I just pay for the differential. I don't think at this point that they are actually breaking out the buy-back amount on the bill. Furthermore, with Entergy's archaic billing system, the per kilowatt cost isn't the true cost of the energy (there are a bunch of other charges on there).

Selfishly, the more that I can get for the power that I feed the grid, the better. But ultimately, it's in everyone's best interest to go green - utilities, too. If their mode of delivering power is becoming out of date, then they need to change to keep up with the times.
 
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Point of order: your meter doesn't technically "run backwards" - it records two values, that which you've used from the grid, and that which you have supplied the grid.

I'd have to look at the bill, but I'm pretty sure that I just pay for the differential. I don't think at this point that they are actually breaking out the buy-back amount on the bill. Furthermore, with Entergy's archaic billing system, the per kilowatt cost isn't the true cost of the energy (there are a bunch of other charges on there).

Selfishly, the more that I can get for the power that I feed the grid, the better. But ultimately, it's in everyone's best interest to go green - utilities, too. If their mode of delivering power is becoming out of date, then they need to change to keep up with the times.

Spjns backwards is easier to understand. :ezbill:

Some meters do actually turn backwards. You are correct in that you only pay the differential. They do not actually send you a check for the power they "purchased" from you. It is more of a credit towards your bill. That credit however is based on the retail price per Kwh.


On to your last comment. Are you 100% off the grid or do you still rely on the UC to provide power on cloudy days and at night? How would you suggest they change with the times? Remove their lines from your street? Install panels on every persons roof?

Assuming you still rely on them to provide you some power, how should they be compensated for providing that service when you may only purchase a few Kwh's per month? Should you have to pay if that $2,000 transformer if lightning strikes it?
 

The Mongoose

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Maybe solar users should charge wholesale prices, but add about ten line items of indecipherable babble talk with random prices next to it. That would be fair, imo.
 
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Maybe solar users should charge wholesale prices, but add about ten line items of indecipherable babble talk with random prices next to it. That would be fair, imo.

You mean like the way mobile phones companies do?
 

zeetes

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my wife worked for PSC and I still know quite a few people over there. this was a hot topic over there since the solar panel credits a few years back.
 

LSSpam

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Selfishly, the more that I can get for the power that I feed the grid, the better. But ultimately, it's in everyone's best interest to go green - utilities, too. If their mode of delivering power is becoming out of date, then they need to change to keep up with the times.
What's out of date about power lines, transformers, power poles, etc? We're not able to directly beam energy into someone's home yet, this isn't a question of outdated technology.

Your excess energy is worthless by itself. It has zero value. It has to get somewhere. Are you going to put up power poles yourself? Power lines? Hire storm crews to reattach it during storms? Assume liability if a live line falls? RN your own collections when someone is late on a bill? Drive over yourself to connect/disconnect as people come and go?

Shouldn't you pay someone for all of that?
 

dtc

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I agree, in principal. As you stated, there are labor, material, and overhead cost related to the distribution network required to make electricity "saleable". Obviously you're to going to pay to help upkeep power lines and generators, so why should your electricity sell for the same price?

That said, there'd need to be some oversight into the prices set, due to the effective monopolistic structure of power comapnies. But there is already oversight, if I'm correct, in what prices the electric company sets. So the regulatory structure for that already exists.
I believe that you guys are misinterpreting what's being suggested.

"Retail" for the cost of power is not the same as the net cost of power as billed on your power bill.

Again, if I'm not mistaken, your power bill includes a power generation fee or some other wording to reflect the cost for them to produce the power. Then, there are other fees. Franchise fees, maintenance fees. whatever. The utility has surcharges for the cost of oil/gas/coal or whatever too.

Also, when you build a house, the utility where I am charges you an assload to run the meter from the road. There's charge for the line to be run underground or via pole and there's the cost of the meter and your access charges, minimum service amounts and the rest.


Now, when you run your meter backwards by pushing your excess solar into the grid, the utility's requirement for generation is reduced. Typically, this only occurs during peak use and every bit of the power generated is used. The utility takes the power back into the grid and distributes it including all of their fees and surcharges so it's not a zero margin deal. Still, if it were, who cares? You've created your own power and you're simply getting a credit against what you bought at the same rate.

Do you pay a fee to return a pair of pants or shoes? Maybe.

I certainly understand the possible need to have a discount, but it sure doesn't make sense that they're allowed to do what they do here and pay only the wholesale charge for generation.

Also, every dollars worth of power that runs backwards into the utility saves the utility from having to more quickly increased production and power plants are expensive.

Anyway, I think the meter spinning one way should cost the same as when it spins the other. They invest in lines and plants, but so has the customer. The lines are a public utility. They're a governmentally mandated monopoly. Why shouldn't they pay the same coming as going?
 

dtc

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Spjns backwards is easier to understand. :ezbill:

Some meters do actually turn backwards. You are correct in that you only pay the differential. They do not actually send you a check for the power they "purchased" from you. It is more of a credit towards your bill. That credit however is based on the retail price per Kwh.


On to your last comment. Are you 100% off the grid or do you still rely on the UC to provide power on cloudy days and at night? How would you suggest they change with the times? Remove their lines from your street? Install panels on every persons roof?

Assuming you still rely on them to provide you some power, how should they be compensated for providing that service when you may only purchase a few Kwh's per month? Should you have to pay if that $2,000 transformer if lightning strikes it?
FYI, until just a couple of years ago, they did send checks back or credit your bill for the excess and then issue one check per year.

Now, they've lobbied to do what you've suggested and allow the utility to pay the same coming as it charges going. That's fair enough I suppose, but they no longer have to write checks. And, given the fact that the utility charges you to run the lines and install the meter, it makes no sense they don't pay for the excess power.

Back in the day, fyi, you could run a bunch of solar panels to charge a battery bank. You could also use the utility power in off-peak times to charge the batteries and then discharge them during peak times at a higher price.

its' what we used to call power arbitrage and once the rules were changed there were a very few people who got the shaft.

charge your batteries all night at off peak rates then during the sunny day you run your house off of the panels with excess continuing to charge. All the power feeds back at the highest rate.

It was a great idea.
 

buzd

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What's out of date about power lines, transformers, power poles, etc? We're not able to directly beam energy into someone's home yet, this isn't a question of outdated technology.

Your excess energy is worthless by itself. It has zero value. It has to get somewhere. Are you going to put up power poles yourself? Power lines? Hire storm crews to reattach it during storms? Assume liability if a live line falls? RN your own collections when someone is late on a bill? Drive over yourself to connect/disconnect as people come and go?

Shouldn't you pay someone for all of that?
I'm not saying the infrastructure is out of date, but the technology that actually produces the power is getting there. I do understand the argument, but by the same token, is Entergy going subsidize the maintenance on my solar panels? I'm underwater for 4-5 years at their current rates, and I'm depending on the stability (and warranty) of the microinverters, the condition of my roof, while my panels slowly deteriorate in production over time (about 1%/year leveling off at 85% or so).

Entergy campaigns for going green and conserving energy, and while feeding the grid isn't the same as turning off a few lightbulbs, the net result is still that Energy is selling (and needs to produce) less energy. With their convoluted fees and billing, it seems kind of hypocritical for Entergy (et al) to make such a play for cash, when its customers are building their own infrastructure to produce power.
 

efil4stnias

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FYI, until just a couple of years ago, they did send checks back or credit your bill for the excess and then issue one check per year.

Now, they've lobbied to do what you've suggested and allow the utility to pay the same coming as it charges going. That's fair enough I suppose, but they no longer have to write checks. And, given the fact that the utility charges you to run the lines and install the meter, it makes no sense they don't pay for the excess power.

Back in the day, fyi, you could run a bunch of solar panels to charge a battery bank. You could also use the utility power in off-peak times to charge the batteries and then discharge them during peak times at a higher price.

its' what we used to call power arbitrage and once the rules were changed there were a very few people who got the shaft.

charge your batteries all night at off peak rates then during the sunny day you run your house off of the panels with excess continuing to charge. All the power feeds back at the highest rate.

It was a great idea.

I believe Entergy LA does just that...credit your bill.

Entergy Louisiana - Net Metering

If a customer supplies more electricity than is purchased in a given month, the customer receives the minimum bill. The excess Kwh’s are credited to the customers account and the credit is applied to the following month’s bill
 

diat150

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I'm not saying the infrastructure is out of date, but the technology that actually produces the power is getting there. I do understand the argument, but by the same token, is Entergy going subsidize the maintenance on my solar panels? I'm underwater for 4-5 years at their current rates, and I'm depending on the stability (and warranty) of the microinverters, the condition of my roof, while my panels slowly deteriorate in production over time (about 1%/year leveling off at 85% or so).

Entergy campaigns for going green and conserving energy, and while feeding the grid isn't the same as turning off a few lightbulbs, the net result is still that Energy is selling (and needs to produce) less energy. With their convoluted fees and billing, it seems kind of hypocritical for Entergy (et al) to make such a play for cash, when its customers are building their own infrastructure to produce power.
werent you subsidized already? entergy pays taxes like everyone else.
 

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