The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved a plan to continue net metering in California. It was voted on in a meeting on Jan. 28, 2016 and the vote was close; 3 to 2. This is a win for the solar customers and the solar companies. If the vote would have failed, we most likely would have ended up with one of the several plans supported by the utility companies which, according to many reviews, would have made solar usage a much more expensive option for consumers. Organizations which applauded the decision includes CALSEIA, Environment California, and Alliance for Solar Choice.
The highlights of the new plan include the following regulations:
- Requirement that residential customers on the NEM 2.0 plan use "time of use" rates.
- Allows an interconnection charge of $75-$150 and asseses some "non-bypassable" charges which will be about $7-$9 per month on average.
- Will not include any of the proposed grid access fess, capacity fees, demand charges, per month netting, and standby charges.
- Plan to keep solar access for farms.
- Add solar participation for renters.
- Continuation of full retail credit for net metering and customers that install solar products under NEM 2.0 will not be subject to future changes of the rules for a period of twenty years.
However, there are many organizations and opponents to the decision that are making the claim that the plan is flawed and will result in increased costs for non-solar users and low income energy users going forward. Organizations and companies that were opposed to the decision includes PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric.
The CPUC says that this is just an intermin step in a longer range plan to modernize energy efficiency and usage across California. The next revision, NEM 3.0 will be developed over the next three years. You can go to the CPUC website for more detailed information on the NEM 2.0 plan.