Regulators halt attempt to hit solar customers with big fees (Randall Chase)

Randall Chase is an AP reporter

Richard Spinks frequently provides more energy to the regional power grid than he uses by virtue of solar panels at his Millsboro early learning center, so “he was shocked recently to learn that he still faced potentially costly monthly bills from Delmarva Power.” Delmarva’s position was that “his rate classification for billing purposes was based not on his net consumption from the grid, but on his monthly “draw” from Delmarva Power – a term not mentioned on his electric bill and not mentioned in Delmarva’s energy tariff.”

According to Spinks, the difference “means an extra roughly $500 a month.” He became subject the extra charge as a result of the early learning center consuming 3,500 KWH of power or more two consecutive months, which changed the ratepayer classification from “small” to “medium.” With that classification, according to Delmarva, the business became subject to a monthly “demand” charge that could amount to several hundred dollars or more based on a customer’s peak usage.

At a Dec. 12 meeting, the Public Service Commission adopted a hearing examiner’s finding that “Delmarva Power violated the law.” The PSC also clarified that the word “usage” in this context means “net usage,” the theory being that Delmarva’s interpretation would affect the reasonable assumptions of small business owners “who have invested in or might to invest in the environmentally friendly solar panels.” Public advocate Drew Slater and Clean Energy USA actively supported this result.

This ignores the interest of electric power consumers in an inexpensive and reliable electric power grid? Is anyone going to follow up so as to amend the energy tariff appropriately?
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