Duke trotted out the tired old propaganda that adding extra charges to solar power producers “balances the interests of customers who have their own generation and those who don’t.”
RTO Insider reporter Chris O’Malley points to:
…a study conducted for the Public Service Commission of Mississippi found “very little substantiated evidence that there are significant costs incurred by grid operators or distribution companies as a result of low levels of solar distribution resources.”
The study, by Synapse Energy Economics, concluded that solar net metering would have estimated benefits of $170/MWh and estimated costs of $143/MWh, resulting in $27/MWh of net benefits to Mississippi.
So the Mississippi study indicates that all rate payers should actually be paying solar producers for the benefits they are receiving from net metering.
The fundamentals of net metering are really based on the science of electricity, not power companies’ needs to recover past bad investments from rate payers.
Uninformed descriptions often claim that solar power producers “feed their electricity back into the grid.” This is wrong.
Current flows along the path of least resistance to the nearest loads. When my solar panels produce more electricity than I can use, those electrons don’t go “to the grid,” they go to my nearest neighbors’ houses.
Mon Power collects the retail price of that electricity from my neighbors. I already pay $5 per month to Mon Power for my connection to their system. My electricity only uses an infinitesimal amount of Mon Power’s entire generation, transmission and distribution system, the couple of hundred yards to my neighbors’ houses.
Mon Power charges my neighbors retail prices for the electricity I supply. If Mon Power added extra fees or reduced the price of the electricity I sell them, they would be getting a windfall profit that they didn’t earn. This is a windfall from my generation equipment that I asked no other rate payers to pay for.
Science is on the side of net metering, and more and more independent studies, like the one by the Mississippi PSC, are demonstrating that it’s the power companies, not the solar power producers who are pushing “unfairness.”