electricfuture wrote:I beg to differ - the main reason they can offer those rates is because the City of Seattle is not taking a profit. You may be able to justify higher energy costs here to some extent - but not 3 times as much. That is ridicules. How about if SDG&E buys power from BPA instead of from gas power plants and emergency turbine generators? Oh wait SEMPRA, the gas supplier, is also a power broker!
It's a combination of 1) low-cost hydro, built long ago with 2) tax-free municipal debt, by 3) a municipal utility that doesn't pay taxes or shareholders. They do, however, deal heavily with local politics (Google "LADWP City Council" if you have a lot of time on your hands), and investor-owned utilities pay taxes that help, you know, the rest of us taxpayers out, so there are pros/cons on both sides.
electricfuture wrote:Friday SDG&E in conjunction with So. Cal. Ed. and PG&E requested the PUC to approve an "electric grid storage fee" to net metering PV customers! As if the economics on installing PV wasn't marginal enough - SDG&E already buys PV excess power only available at peak times for $0.03 per kWH while selling at peak in excess of $0.27 per kWH. If I were the Judge reviewing the case I would ask SDG&E for the names and locations of the storage facilities! Looking at the numbers - you may wind up paying SDG&E for the privilege of providing them your excess power!
This is just another way to prevent PV from denting their bottom line and shows their true colors regarding renewable energy. Please remember that SDG&E is owned by SEMPRA which sells natural gas so anything SDG&E does to reduce dependence on natural gas is in direct conflict with their own interests.
Without commenting on any specific utility, anyone with even a fleeting comprehension of economics can surely see that using the utility infrastructure to 'store' one person's solar PV output until they want to use it later in the day is NOT a cost-free proposition for the utility. If the economics of PV are "marginal", I'm willing to debate whether further subsidies are a good idea (as opposed to exercising some patience, while the economics likely improve), but as a utility customer currently subsidizing my neighbors with solar PV, I think it is a debate worth having.
If "Joe" installs solar PV and manages his consumption so as to net out a zero power bill, the cost of the wires, metering, billing, and - oh yes - the power plants and transmission lines that bring Joe power during the dark -- all are picked up by Joe's neighbors if Joe isn't sending any money to his utility. Whether Joe pays for "storage" or "backup" or "stable voltage" is pretty much semantics - Joe is getting substantial value from staying connected to the grid, and as Joe's neighbor with no solar panels, I resent picking up the entire tab for that value. EV owners are more keenly aware than just about anyone, of the cost of electricity storage (aka "batteries"), so pretending that should be had for free is pretty disingenuous, on this forum.
But wait, says Joe, he "generates" at noon and "consumes" in the dark! The trouble is that solar PV peaks at midday, and by the time the utility system hits peak demand (generally 4-6pm), solar PV is down to maybe one-third of nameplate capacity. So Joe's 'onpeak' contribution doesn't really occur when Joe's neighbors need the power, and solar PV is subject to outages that require backup generators for the 1/3 that (usually) works during the late-afternoon peak.
Should California legislators or utility regulators wish to subsidize Joe's installation of various equipment, they can (and do) issue cash payments directly, but pretending Joe doesn't add any costs to the electric grid has always struck me as a lousy way of subsidizing something, and it sends the "Joes" of our society an incredibly perverse price signal. Large industrial customers who self-generate (truly
self-generate; they typically provide 100% of their own load 24/7, rather than lending/borrowing a la "Joe") pay a monthly "Standby" charge to their utility, which compensates for the facilities that are necessary for the few weeks per year when they shutdown for maintenance and take utility service (which they also pay for as incurred). "Joe" relies on the utility infrastructure daily, but under Net Energy Metering may pay nothing for this service.
I haven't looked at SDG&E's specific proposal, but I think that conceptually, value should be paid for by the recipient, not the recipient's neighbors.