Civil War on Your Rooftop

By Carl Pope | January 29, 2016

The fierce counterattack by utilities against the disruptive surge of roof-top solar peaked this month on the West Coast. California’s big utilities successfully petitioned for increased “exit fees” for cities or counties leaving the utility to purchase electricity for their residents on the open market — typically obtaining greener power with equal or lower rates. (Marin County is offering its residents a renewables mix ranging from 50-100 percent, at an average rate $3/month lowerthan what PG&E, the previous monopoly, would charge.)

The utilities argued that the increase — in Marin’s case a doubling — was warranted by an established formula, because PG&E had long term power contracts entered into to meet the needs of its former customers. But the PUC denied California’s private utilities dramatic increases they sought in fees charged utility customers using rooftop solar.

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