SCE Takes Aim At Solar Users With Steep Delivery Charge

Think you're saving money and helping the environment by putting those solar panels on your house? Maybe not saving as much money--thanks to Southern California Edison, which told its utility users this morning that it will soon be charging a minimum of $10 in "delivery charges" to all of its customers, if they fail to spend $10 a month on electricity. SCE--which claims the rate change is "not just those with solar"--said the change is designed to collect "a portion" of the fixed costs of providing electricity costs to its customers. The shift is sure to irk solar panel owners--who typically pay almost nothing to Southern California Edison once their panels are installed--as well as clean technology advocates. The charges--which for many solar users, would total an additional $120 in yearly costs--in many cases will dramatically extend or negate the financial advantages of installing solar panels. SCE is joining a number of utilities around the nation, who--after being forced to promote the adoption of solar energy by regulators--are looking to claw back what they say are infrastructure costs not being borne by solar consumers. SCE joins such utilities as Hawaii's electric utility, which has put in policies to halt installation of solar panels, in order to protect their diminishing business.