FTC Workshop Will Examine Competition and Consumer Protection Issues in the Rooftop Solar Business #00144

Submission Number:
Oliver Seely
Initiative Name:
FTC Workshop Will Examine Competition and Consumer Protection Issues in the Rooftop Solar Business
I have two rooftop solar systems at two residences, one in Lakewood, CA and the other at our vacation home in Oakhurst, CA. The first is served by Southern California Edison and the second by Pacific Gas and Electric. The first has been in operation for 12 years, the second for 2 years. I spend about 50% of my time at each location. Though each system generates slightly less energy than that which is consumed, with net metering, both systems have operated at or near a $ break-even. With recent changes in on-peak periods by Southern California Edison, I've decided to add a number of panels to reach a kilowatt hour break even, amounting to 2 additional panels at one location and 3 at the other. Once a system has been operational for one year, calculating what one needs to reach a kwh break-even is a matter of applying a simple ratio. Even though the law in California states clearly that one can install a number of panels sufficient to generate energy equal to that which one consumes, there seems to be some reluctance on the part of installers to do so, partly, I think, because of the lower size of the needed installation and, I feel certain, partly because of resistance to that of allowing utility customers to operate virtually independently of the private utility. That is, a customer who pays a meter fee and connect fee may discover that it will advantageous to add a few more panels, to install a rechargeable battery in the garage and to say "bye-bye-bye" to the utility. Writing only for myself, I wish to request that the commission discuss, as a part of item 2), "Current regulatory approaches to compensating consumers for the power they generate, with a particular focus on net metering laws and regulations" a. current limitations on the amount of energy which a customer can generate from a PV installation, b. potential consequences of utility customers "going independent" if the connect fee and meter fee exceeds the cost of independence, c. community solar systems for apartment dwellers and others who are unable to install a rooftop system, and d. the status of Renewable Energy Certificates for trade among family members, sale on the open market, or as a donation to charity. Many thanks for your consideration of these points, Oliver Seely