Xcel Fee for Solar Customers Suspended
Just two weeks after COSEIA raised concerns about a new monthly charge Xcel wanted to assess on solar PV customers, the PUC heard from more than 440 of you in protest. It has since suspended Xcel's proposed 2% fee for solar customers until a hearing and review can occur.
Xcel customers with solar systems were notified near the beginning of May that a new fee would be added to their bills, beginning in June. The amount collected from this fee would go to Xcel's RESA fund (Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment Fund), which is the pool of money used to give rebates to people who want to add a new solar system to their home. The proposed costs were, as follows: customers with .5KW- 5KW solar arrays would pay $1.03/ month, 5- 10KW would pay $2.05/ month, and over 10KW would pay $4.11/ month. This amount would be on top of the 2% fee paid on any electricity usage from the grid.
Though inherently an idea that showed people who had solar were still required to help others get the same rebates they had gotten, the details were written vague enough that the solar industry started to raise some flags about the whole matter. This fee could be raised at any time and could eventually be a 'Solar Penalty Fee' that would continue to be raised by Xcel (without check) and, in the worst case scenario, inhibit people from choosing solar in the first place.
After concern was raised by individuals and the solar industry in Colorado and nationally, the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) has suspended the implementation of this charge and set the matter for hearing and a thorough review (docket 11AL-080E). In its ruling, the Commission stated that Xcel's proposed "terms and rate contained in the tariff may be improper."
The letter released from CoSEIA's policy director can be read here. Updates will be posted as the matter develops.