Lexington County Chronicle
March 1, 2021
Are ratepayers actually subsidizing solar users?
Frank Knapp Jr.
A Dominion Energy SC witness has disclosed 2 pieces of revealing information.
Dominion is seeking approval for a new solar net-metering program to address what it claims is non-solar customers paying more to subsidize their solar customers.
Dominion claims solar customers don’t pay their fair share of the costs of maintaining the electric power grid and other operational costs.
In a Public Service Commission hearing, Allen Rooks of Dominion testified that the estimated cost shift that non-solar customers are claimed to be paying to subsidize solar customers is $1.38 a month for residential customers and 28 cents a month for small business customers.
Mr. Rooks agreed that these estimated cost shifts do not cause higher utility costs for customers now.
He said they will only occur if allowed by the PSC in a future general rate case, not in Dominion’s current rate request. Such a possible rate case might be years ahead.
The dreaded solar net-metering cost shifting that Dominion convinced the legislature to be concerned about is not actually happening. This is a big misdirection by Dominion. They say they are trying to protect the non-solar residential customers, including low-income, from paying $1.38 more a month to subsidize solar customers. But that cost shift simply isn’t happening.
Same for that 28 cents a month small business non-solar customers are allegedly paying extra a month. It isn’t happening.
None of the proposed added revenue from solar customers will be used to reduce utility costs of the other residential and small business customers today, a year from now or many years from now.
What Dominion wants is more money in its pocket from solar customers and to discourage future residential and small business adoption of rooftop solar.
Mr. Knapp is President and CEO of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce