The California Public Utilities Commission has rejected a proposal from San Diego Gas & Electric's Phase 2 General Rate Case for service in 2013 that would have established a network use charge (NUC) for customers, including solar PV generators, for their use of the electric distribution grid. In a scoping ruling filed Jan. 18, Commissioner Mark Ferron wrote that as proposed, the NUC "may be inconsistent with current law" and ordered the utility to file a revised rate case without the charge during February.
When SDG&E filed its phase 2 rate case in October 2011, CCSE engaged local solar stakeholders in discussions to assess the proposed new charge. CCSE collaborated with the local contractors, industry leaders, government officials and others to analyze potential impacts of the new rate structure on existing solar users, the future of the solar industry and the state's ability to achieve stated goals for renewable energy generation and energy efficiency.
Ferron based his concern about the legality of the NUC on regulations that prohibit utilities from creating new charges that would increase a customer-generator's costs beyond those of other customers in the same rate class who are not generators. While the proposed NUC would have applied to both classes of customers, generators would have been charged on both incoming and outgoing power. Ferron wrote that he does not believe that the issue of whether to allow such a NUC should be included within the scope of a rate case proceeding.
SDG&E has stated that under its current rate design, net energy metering ( NEM) customers do not pay their fair share of costs incurred on their behalf by the utility to provide service, including use of the distribution system. As a result, SDG&E contends that non- NEM customers subsidize NEM customers.
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