Stop Anti-Solar Demand Charges
New York utilities have proposed new anti-solar fees, called demand charges, on all solar homeowners.
New York's progress in sustainable solar energy has been built locally, through investments by homeowners, communities and industry. Now, New York utilities are proposing new anti-solar fees called demand charges that threaten to stifle the growth of solar in New York.
What Are Demand Charges?
New York utilities have proposed mandatory demand charges on all solar homeowners in New York. This unprecedented rate structure undermines the value of energy conservation, discouraging homeowners from choosing solar to power their homes.
Rather than imposing “gotcha” charges on solar homeowners, New York utilities should value the long-term benefits rooftop solar provides New York homeowners, their neighbors, and the grid.
Wrong for Homeowners
Residential demand charges are confusing and unpredictable.
Instead of charging families based on their total energy use, demand charges impose an additional fee based on a time interval when customers use the most electricity.
That means that even if you conserve energy all month, one slip-up can cause your electric bill to skyrocket.
Historically, demand charges have been confined to commercial and industrial customers, who can afford to invest in the technology and personnel required to effectively manage peak demand. Applied to residential solar customers, demand charges represent a “gotcha” charge that is confusing and unpredictable.
Life with Demand Charges
Testimonials from Homeowners
Recently, a small, unregulated, municipal district in Kentucky, called Glasgow Electric, implemented mandatory demand charges on all residential customers. The results were dramatic, with some customers experiencing jumps in their electric bills to the tune of several hundreds of dollars the first month.
In response to the rates, the Attorney General of Kentucky stated, "The current rate structure is out of line with the mainstream and harmful to consumers. If it had ever come in front of the PSC... we would have been arguing until our dying breath to prevent it from being put into place."
After immense public backlash, the mandatory demand charges were withdrawn.
Coverage of proposed demand charges across the country.
Boston Globe: Solar debate heats up again
Chicago Tribune: Change in electric billing could blot out solar industry growth
The Recorder: Eversource rate hike plans strongly opposed
PV Magazine: Demand charge decision looms in Massachusetts
Renewable Energy World: Massachusetts’ Biggest Utility Seeks Crippling Demand Charges for Customers
Midwest Energy News: In Illinois energy bill drama, demand charge is central and evolving
The Wichita Eagle: Letters to the Editor (July 11)