Monday, July 6, 2009

Cindy Pollard, PG&E spokesperson, clarifies views on net-metering and FITs

Cindy Pollard, spokesperson for Pacific Gas & Electric Company PG&E), provides details of the company's views on net-metering, feed-in tariff "performance standards," and the need for PG&E to get the energy credits associated with green electricity from FITs, recorded from Sacramento, California, on July 6, 2009

1. How much have net metering costs raised consumer prices under the 2.5% cap?

And 2. What does PG&E project would be the cost increase under a 10% cap?

That is the information that the CPUC was required to determine before the cap was raised. The cost benefit analysis has not been conducted, and we would still like to see just how much it will cost our customers. We believe it’s very important to look at the data before decisions on cap increases are made. The CPUC report on the costs and benefits of solar is due early next year.

We have not had that much solar in our territory until recently and PG&E is currently at only 1.3% of its system peak demand so the question is what will the costs be when we reach 2.5% and should we reach 10%.

We do know that NEM customers are credited at the full retail rate, which includes the power, transmission and distribution, and public purpose programs, which they do not currently pay. In addition they receive a rebate to help pay for the system and relief from the interconnection costs. The difference between what they pay and what they are credited is shifted to our non-solar customers.

3. What specifically does PG&E want for "performance standards"?

We want to make sure that if we’re going to head down the path of a solar program that we get what we think we’re going to get. We need have some reasonable assurances that the program is going to work. We would like to have firm deadlines for the projects to come online; performance assurance to protect against system operation and reliability costs associated with procurement planning should a program fail to materialize and commission authorization to establish other terms and conditions that are reasonable to ensure that the FIT program results in reliable renewable energy delivery.

4. Doesn't the logic of avoiding increases to customer prices under net metering also apply under feed-in tariffs?

Yes it does if you're overpaying for power as we are with the full retail credit we currently pay NEM customers. It is important to make sure the price is fair and that we get the renewable energy attributes, meaning that this power counts towards our renewable portfolio standards requirements.

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