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TheCrimsonDagger t1_isavpb7 wrote


chowder-san t1_isawybv wrote

Pretty much. They make up excuses that it's covering their costs of maintenance of the grid and maintaining proper specs so the grid doesn't go haywire by increasing voltage and the like but in the end, they just want free money. It's like this everywhere because power companies have been neglecting modernization of the grids so now that customers are installing solar panels at such fast pace, the companies are no longer able to fit all that into an outdated system.


vissalyn t1_isbeg0g wrote

It’s not an excuse it’s real. If you want to go ahead and disconnect your home from the grid, go ahead. Utilities can’t continue to support a reliable grid for you to use when your panels aren’t generating without some sort of compensation from the customers to do so. Where are they going to get the money to maintain the grid if everyone did this? All operating and maintenance expenses are passed directly to the customer. Utilities “make money” on capital investments.

Every solar installation at a home requires a model be run for that distribution area to see if it will cause overloading or voltage issues. It’s not an excuse, it’s a very complicated issue that many people around the world are working on.


Loeden t1_isbk41n wrote

My hookup fee is eight dollars a month. 90 is an unreasonable fee for work actually being performed, although maintaining the grid and net metering is still a service and should have some sort of fee, I agree. The issue here is with gouging solar customers with a different hookup price that regular customers don't get hit with.

I am not paid for what I generate but instead have banked kwh that I can pull from, which is honestly more beneficial than grids having to pay out. Mind you, my utilities are run by my city and not a corporation.


RatmanThomas t1_isc8ll3 wrote

The government doesn’t have to charge a fee for up keep, they tax you for it.


Loeden t1_isc8qs6 wrote

Uh? We're talking about power companies. Many of which are not public utilities, although I wish they were.


chowder-san t1_isbgmcx wrote

my point isn't that they should do that without compensation, but that they are using that as an excuse to cover for their negligence that lasted decades and increase prices much more than they deserve. Over years they cashed profit margins instead of investing in improving the grids, leaving them in a sorry state and now, that they are tested by sudden influx of solar panels, companies need to make rapid changes and maintenance that costs. And customers are being bled to cover those.

If power companies did their job properly and fulfilled the tasks they were supposed to complete and cared for stuff they were supposed to oversee, we wouldn't have issues we do now.


vissalyn t1_isbi04g wrote

Not sure how you think they cashed profit margins - again they create new wealth from a guaranteed rate of return on invested capital - both of which needs to be approved by the state utility board. All other costs are transferred to the customers on a 1:1 basis. And there is no doubt every company/utility could cut costs in some way, but to say they are intentionally overcharging to make a cash profit is not correct.

If by someway they could see the future, perhaps they would have built the grid in a more robust state, but that would have been more expensive back then and customers at the time would not have been happy about it - costs would have been higher, let alone the utility board approving rate increases for extensive costs to cover what would have seemed to be an imaginary future scenario.

I hope this helps some in understanding how this works, it’s very complicated and has taken me years to understand. Nothing is black and white.


pitlane17 t1_isbkwwt wrote

Everyone gets charged a customer charge out of the gate. That covers a portion of their cost for maintenance. Whether you use 5kwh or 3000 in a month as residential. The charge is the same. Just because I now add solar and lower my kwh usage now I have to pay fees for the amount of kw I have in solar? That doesn't make since, I contribute more then the person who only has small livestock well, yet they pay the same customer charge, and I still have to pay the customer charge and the kw solar fee.


vissalyn t1_isbm7n5 wrote

Yeah a customer charge vs revenue to cover expenses through the rate case are separate here. If everyone suddenly had solar installed, the utility wouldn’t have enough revenue from customers to maintain the current grid without upping that base charge, so now that base charge would be substantial. Since now you aren’t recovering costs from a kWh basis but instead it’s more of a fixed cost to all customers to just maintain the grid.

Let’s say 50% of the customer base installs solar - now the utility must cover the same costs to maintain the grid, yet their revenue is substantially lowered, so the money has to come from somewhere. Do you just increase the rate cost and now the half of customers not using solar are paying double what they were? Well that doesn’t make much sense since anyone with solar is still benefiting from that entire grid.

Perhaps the best solution is to break out electrical bills to generation costs (fuel, maintenance at power plants, wind sites etc. ) and charge those through a rate structure $/kwh, then take the grid maintenance side and just charge that evenly across all households. Many people wouldn’t think this is fair either, but it’s one option.


TikkiTakiTomtom t1_isduwyv wrote

Sounds like death throes by an outdated industry to me


chowder-san t1_iseamh9 wrote

Well, yeah. People in Poland had to deal with a lot of bs with coal and wood supply for winter because of government 's nonsense. Many people are now afraid that once those, who failed to secure enough fuel switch on electrical heaters the entire grid will go down. I'm considering getting a generator myself, I have fuel but it will be useless without electricity for pumps lol


kaminaowner2 t1_isbz4z6 wrote

It actually makes sense, you still are dependent on the grid but pay nexts to nothing a month for its upkeep. A fee of some form is needed to make sure we have power when it’s cloudy. And power lines cost money to fix. 90 bucks sucks but most people pay 200 ish a month so it’s still worth the cost.


Substantial_City4618 t1_isd28kn wrote

90 dollars to maintain a inefficient system when I have my own power? Fuck that I’ll just buy a generator and disconnect.


kaminaowner2 t1_isd7g8h wrote

If you can go for it, most states it’s illegal to go off grid, that said I know my state Oklahoma has no laws against it so look up your local state laws


Substantial_City4618 t1_iserw3o wrote

The fact it’s illegal to go off the grid in some states, should be a political conversation of a lot more importance.

“If I’m supporting it with a local monopoly and often with tax dollars, do I have support it with my after tax dollars under penalty of the law?”


UnderstandingSquare7 t1_isdb3jl wrote

That's a utility argument. The counter might be: As society goes increasingly solar, the utility is required to produce less power, which cuts down on their operating costs (they're buying and burning something to move those turbines!). Encouraging more solar with low or no fees, or renewables in general, lowers the stress on utility plant, and in the long run is an investment itself. The solar owners are actually bearing more of the cost of future operations and maintenance, instead of the utility.


the8thbit t1_isdlu1h wrote

It's blatantly anticompetitive. If you need to charge an upkeep fee, then it should be spread across all customers. Upkeep costs the same from the company's perspective whether you generate your power largely from your own panels, or if you depend entirely on the power company. Up charging customers who decide to replace one of your services should be illegal, and in many cases, it is.

Imagine if Microsoft started charging anyone who sets their default browser to anything but Edge $5/mo for service updates. "It actually makes sense, because it costs money to develop and distribute updates!" They'd be laughed right out of court with that defense.

In most cases, what the power companies are doing is even more indefensible. They're generally regional monopolies and an some states you're required to do business with them if you want to not be homeless. At least with Windows there are alternative operating systems.


kaminaowner2 t1_isdxi5y wrote

The electric system has to become a subscription service, the grid can’t be replaced, and can’t be repaired for free. Unless we find a magic way to fix the grid their has to be a minimum charge. It’s not anti competition because you aren’t competing with the electric company, your dependent on it. Wake up and recognize we have to work together still in order for this solar thing to work, you charge my house when it’s dark here, I charge yours later.


Open-Gazelle-3774 t1_isf28gj wrote

Before we have to pay that $90 fee we should be given the option to go off grid… I have to batteries and a gen. I would rather go off then pay close to half of what my normal electric bill would be. A $10-15 monthly fee I understand but $90?


kaminaowner2 t1_isf6e2z wrote

I do believe the amount is to high, it also is different state by state. Going off grid is nice but does cut into the promise of solar, you charge my house when it’s dark here, and I charge yours when it’s dark there, and we both charge the city’s. We need more humans working together not more going our own way, but there is room for some of us to cut ties, just not all or even most.


the8thbit t1_isfj7qj wrote

>The electric system has to become a subscription service, the grid can’t be replaced, and can’t be repaired for free.

Of course. So charge everyone the same subscription fee. Why should solar panel owners be forced to bear a larger portion of the cost for the same service that everyone gets?

>It’s not anti competition because you aren’t competing with the electric company, your dependent on it.

You can be both dependent on a company, and competing with them. Chrome is (mostly) dependent on an operating system ecosystem provided by Microsoft. That doesn't mean Google and Microsoft aren't competitors, and if Microsoft instituted fees for installing Chrome, that would be blatantly anticompetitive.

A home solar operator sells power to people (themselves and their other nearby people on the grid) when its more economical to get it from them than from the power company. The home solar operator gets that money, and the power company does not. If the home solar operator didn't exist, the power company would be getting that money as they wouldn't have to compete with the solar operator. Home solar installations take customers away from power companies. That's about as cut and dry competition as it gets.


JimC29 t1_isdxj8u wrote

I only spend over $60 on electricity in July and August. My heat and hot water are gas though. June is usually in the 60s.


kaminaowner2 t1_isdy2m9 wrote

If you pay for gas you have to include that charge to the savings, because us electric folk don’t pay for that. Also I’m guessing you’re in the north (most gas users are) it’s cheaper to hear a house than cool one. You’re fellow southern citizens use more energy in general than you.


JimC29 t1_isdyb7q wrote

Midwest. My heating bills in the winter are are 30-50 a month. I also have insulated my house very well including all new windows.

I know I'm on the very low end of energy use in my area. I'm just saying the fee would be more than I spend on electricity throughout the year.


kaminaowner2 t1_isdyved wrote

In theory the fee would be less their too, idk how your state works (some don’t have any fee yet) but it’ll be different state by state, California is a crazy place compared to the mid west.


Telemere125 t1_iseubrh wrote

That doesn’t make sense at all, especially on grid-tie systems. They’re still charging non-solar customers the normal rate to use my solar-generated energy even tho I’m the one paying for it’s upkeep with my panels. So when solar energy is used by a non-solar customer, it’s been paid for twice and when I, a solar customer, use non-solar energy, im still paying for the normal rate. A “convenience” charge is specifically only there to discourage solar installs


kaminaowner2 t1_isf5vp4 wrote

I don’t believe it needs to be 90 dollars, but it’s a fact not a opinion solar is becoming both more popular,efficient,cheaper. When the average American is selling energy energy becomes worth less, but the systems in which that energy travels still has value and need. Maybe it would be 8 dollars or less but there is a price minimum we have to create in order to pay real people to take care of infrastructure we all use, it’s no different than the road.


Telemere125 t1_isf6lad wrote

Yea but if the solar is becoming less valuable per kWh and there’s more of it, then the power company shouldn’t need to generate as much on their own or buy as much from other sources. We’re seeing the exact opposite happen - they just raised rates in the SE US by 60% in May. So their claim is that power is currently costing us more to generate, not less.


kaminaowner2 t1_isf87qe wrote

There is a lot of underhanded deals and agreements that need to stop, I’m not saying there is no corruption because there definitely is, my only point was we need to pay something still to pay for the shiny new grid we need to go with all this space age technology. I personally was gonna buy some land and throw some solar panels on it, but turns out my state’s electric company has a legal agreement to buy most it’s energy from one oil company, so they informed me they’d pay me for 3c for every 17 worth of electricity I made, ya they wanted to make a 82% profit. I understand how unfair they are.


Telemere125 t1_isfxv5a wrote

That, plus they’re really not upgrading any of the grid. Sure, new developments get new lines but that’s all built into the cost of the neighborhood; and they replace lines when they’re knocked down, but part of the reason we’ve seen all these fires out west is precisely because they aren’t upgrading anything properly. And plenty of people can’t or won’t go solar - even if we get off fossil fuels entirely - so those people can spend on the incoming power they use and support the grid cost. This is also the reason all utilities should be government-run. Yes, government has its own share of problems, but they’re not profit-centered.


kaminaowner2 t1_isg5tj8 wrote

Ya I’d personally make the grid as a government issue, our taxes should cover it the same way we cover the roads, but I don’t buy people against solar will never go solar, they said the same stuff about LED bulbs and now it’s the norm, and here in the American south where I live solar is popping up everywhere on houses. I think in 10-20 years solar will just be common on new houses the way microwaves are.