Net-metering is still under attack in much of the U.S. and Colorado continues being one of the major battlegrounds. Now solar advocates have increased their efforts to fight back against Xcel Energy's, the state’s leading utility, efforts to change net-metering in Colorado by launching a new site, Colorado Solar Voices.
“Xcel is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to convince Coloradans that they support solar. What they really support is guarding their profits,” says Meghan Nutting, spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC). “They want to limit rooftop solar to protect their electricity sales.” TASC, which is working in states across the nation to push back against utilities’ efforts to reduce their net-metering programs, launched the new site. The organization, for instance, has been very active in Arizona, where APS’ efforts to push back against net-metering were largely stymied last year.
Xcel has filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to change how it calculates compensation for net-metered customers for the electricity that their solar arrays put back on the grid. However, the utility has run into steep opposition from citizens and even Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) office. In late January his Colorado Energy Office (CEO) dealt Xcel’s efforts a set back when it recommended PUC investigate a change to Xcel’s net-metering policy as a separate issue than its PUC filing. Since then the PUC held a well-attended public hearing and comment period on the controversial attempt to change the rules.
The new site helps give further voice to Colorado’s solar advocates and local ‘joe’s’ who support solar and oppose Xcel’s efforts to change the state’s net-metering policy. Richard, a Vietnam Vet and one of the people highlighted on the site, had solar installed on his home. He contends, “Xcel seems to be like any other major company or corporation or utility. They want to run a monopoly, pure and simple. They don’t want anybody to have anything that’s going to take away from their revenue.”
“They’re proposing to actually charge solar customer irregardless of whether they’re putting back on the grid or not, but keep their utility bills just as they are,” Richard says. That’s to me kind of ridiculous it’s sort of a double-dipper.…there’s no win for the little guy.” He calls Xcel’s actions childish and likens it to a case of “gimmes.”
“In 43 states, net metering gives rooftop solar customers full retail credit for the excess energy they deliver back to the grid,” TASC contends. The organization adds that utilities like Xcel want to sell the exported energy at the full retail rate to other customers without paying those who generated it the same amount—even though those users are paying for the systems through various means.
“Many Coloradans share the perspectives articulated in these videos,” TASC says. It adds that 70 percent of Coloradans favor net metering and more than 60 percent of all key voter groups support net metering policy in the state.Tweet