Dominion to charge fee to heavy users of solar power

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mivey

Senior Member
Imagine: people actually having to pay for the services they get. What is the world coming to? :blink:
 

Hv&Lv

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ActionDave

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Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
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I hate net metering.

If you want to be your own power company and pay for the costs of maintaining your independent system alone, go ahead.

If you want to take from the utility when you want, but expect them to provide always; and in return you give only when your are able, you are asking for all of the benefit and none of the burden. Plus you are asking me to chip in with my tax dollars.
 

mivey

Senior Member
...Plus you are asking me to chip in with my tax dollars.
And in many cases by paying a higher utility bill because your tree-hugging neighbor is riding on part of your dime.

I have no problem with being "environmentally friendly", I just have a problem when someone wants to force me to be as "environmentally friendly" as they claim to be, and talk the government into taking my money at gun-point to fund their beliefs.
 
He could probably get out of paying that by having another meter installed and having Dominion pay him avoided wholesale cost for his energy produced. Power companies HATE net metering.
In Michigan, power companies do not, and do not have to, pay anyone for electricity. They are forced by the State to allow for a certain amount of net metering. After that, they don't have to allow it.

Even if a customer could sell power to the company, they would only have to pay a few pennies per kWh for it, making it not worthwhile to build a system with that goal in mind.
 

wirenut1980

Senior Member
Location
Plainfield, IN
This would be similar to an existing type of utility charge for customers who wish to have dual utility feeds (two 12 KV circuits for example) for redundancy. They are charged a reserve capacity for having ampacity of the backup circuit reserved for their use if something should happen to their primary feed. I can see this type of charge catching on as distributed generation is installed more. At first glance it does tick me off, but I do see why the utility is doing it.
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
This would be similar to an existing type of utility charge for customers who wish to have dual utility feeds (two 12 KV circuits for example) for redundancy. They are charged a reserve capacity for having ampacity of the backup circuit reserved for their use if something should happen to their primary feed. I can see this type of charge catching on as distributed generation is installed more. At first glance it does tick me off, but I do see why the utility is doing it.


And in many cases by paying a higher utility bill because your tree-hugging neighbor is riding on part of your dime.

I have no problem with being "environmentally friendly", I just have a problem when someone wants to force me to be as "environmentally friendly" as they claim to be, and talk the government into taking my money at gun-point to fund their beliefs.
I hate net metering.

If you want to be your own power company and pay for the costs of maintaining your independent system alone, go ahead.

If you want to take from the utility when you want, but expect them to provide always; and in return you give only when your are able, you are asking for all of the benefit and none of the burden. Plus you are asking me to chip in with my tax dollars.
Imagine: people actually having to pay for the services they get. What is the world coming to? :blink:
All you folks are forgetting what the main reason is there is the solar movement. It has been decided by Govt. and others that the country needs to use renewables I agree to some extent so long as costs to do so are really lower, cost of material and energy used to manufacture. Yes there is a cost to maintain a system and the power company needs to be able to provide at times when the sun or wind does not produce power, But you need to realize that the power company also gets to include your production farm in it's avalable supply calculations. This allows a utilty to avoid bringing new plants online and or bringing old plants up to date. So the mere thought that a utility needs to make such a fee is perposterous. The utility is doing so because it wants to create a new profit center.
 

wirenut1980

Senior Member
Location
Plainfield, IN
All you folks are forgetting what the main reason is there is the solar movement. It has been decided by Govt. and others that the country needs to use renewables I agree to some extent so long as costs to do so are really lower, cost of material and energy used to manufacture. Yes there is a cost to maintain a system and the power company needs to be able to provide at times when the sun or wind does not produce power, But you need to realize that the power company also gets to include your production farm in it's avalable supply calculations. This allows a utilty to avoid bringing new plants online and or bringing old plants up to date. So the mere thought that a utility needs to make such a fee is perposterous. The utility is doing so because it wants to create a new profit center.
I do not believe an intermittent source such as solar would be able to be counted as a supply source. And if renewables do make it possible to avoid bringing new plants online, that is a savings to the ratepayers as that is a capital expense and would be passed onto ratepayers through a rate increase.
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
I do not believe an intermittent source such as solar would be able to be counted as a supply source. And if renewables do make it possible to avoid bringing new plants online, that is a savings to the ratepayers as that is a capital expense and would be passed onto ratepayers through a rate increase.

The renewables is also used to meet mandate quotas also, this in-turn alleveates the building of new plants. This is true at least on the west coast.

PV is not an intemittent source in our area. It is not source that can be turned on when needed but it does have a direct correleation to peak loads. Consider peak demand in the summer. Here in CA when it is a hot day the sun is usually shining, if you have PV you can count on this to supplement and OFFSET peak loads. This is all what the renewables like PV are all about.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
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Engineer/Technician
In Michigan, power companies do not, and do not have to, pay anyone for electricity. They are forced by the State to allow for a certain amount of net metering. After that, they don't have to allow it.

Even if a customer could sell power to the company, they would only have to pay a few pennies per kWh for it, making it not worthwhile to build a system with that goal in mind.
If any power company in Michigan is doing net metering, they are paying someone for electricity. That is the whole basis of net metering. Cooperatives do not have to net meter, but per uncle sam, IOU's do.
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
Location
Northern California
Occupation
Solar and Energy Storage Installer
Imagine: people actually having to pay for the services they get. What is the world coming to? :blink:
Read the article please. Dominion customers already pay a flat rate connection fee. They are already paying for the service they get.

He could probably get out of paying that by having another meter installed and having Dominion pay him avoided wholesale cost for his energy produced. Power companies HATE net metering.
Maybe. Try to make sense of the sentence: "Dominion plans to charge $4.19 per kilowatt for a solar customer's average peak usage of the company's electricity each month." What is 'average peak usage'? Is that only importing, or either peak export or peak import?

I hate net metering.
If you want to take from the utility when you want, but expect them to provide always; and in return you give only when your are able, you are asking for all of the benefit and none of the burden.
To repeat, Dominion customers are paying a flat fee to be connected, so they are accepting that part of the 'burden'. The generation that these customers produce is generation that Dominion does not have to produce, so the customers have every right to expect a credit for it under net-metering. If Dominion feels, due to net-metering and higher penetrations of intermittent sources, that the flat rate fee and generation rates need to be re-adjusted, that could be a valid argument to make to state regulators. This 'standby-fee' is horse-dung.

Plus you are asking me to chip in with my tax dollars.
That's really a separate issue. It has nothing to do with utility fees.

This would be similar to an existing type of utility charge for customers who wish to have dual utility feeds (two 12 KV circuits for example) for redundancy.
It's really not similar at all. A grid-tied solar or wind system has no redundancy and does not cost the utility anything to maintain.
 
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Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
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Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Maybe. Try to make sense of the sentence: "Dominion plans to charge $4.19 per kilowatt for a solar customer's average peak usage of the company's electricity each month." What is 'average peak usage'? Is that only importing, or either peak export or peak import?
That would be the average peak power usage for the month. Basically like demand metering. $4.19 per kW isn't a bad price for power. I am not sure what their energy price is.

A power company either produces their own power or imports power from a generator somewhere. They have to pay for the power, much like a store has to buy a loaf of bread in order to sell it back to you. The avoided wholesale rate now is somewhere around 4.5 cents per kWh. Take that wholesale price and add in enough profit to pay for all the lines and poles, which are normally "financed" for 35 years, and the operating costs, plus stockholders dividends, the price will rise to somewhere in the 9-11 cent range. Much like the profit on the loaf of bread the store owner has to sell you in order to keep his shop open.

The basic facility charge I have seen mentioned in some posts, is generally only enough to pay an extremely small fraction of the actual cost. Power companies rely on their variable product sales to "keep the doors open". I have heard some figures as high as $65 per meter for a basic facility charge in order to not be so dependant on energy sales. Realistically, why would a power company want you to conserve energy since that is where their profit comes from? Only because of Govt. mandates do we encourage energy conservation.

When you Net Meter, If you produce enough power to make the meter spin backwards, then the power company is basically paying you the 9-11 cents per kWh it charges a customer. The owner of the store has to pay you to take the bread out of his store is what that amounts to.

A power company may charge you for the demand. They have to maintain a capacity whether it is used or not. You can't store power. A generator, whether coal fired, nuclear, or whatever, will have to produce what is being used at any given moment. You can't reasonably expect the power company to commit to a certain capacity for free. That is why there are base plants, excess plants and peaking plants, and when these peaking plants crank up during peak periods, the energy price can be as high as 11 cents per kWh and the power can cost upwards of $27 (DOLLARS PER kW!) wholesale price. That has to be added in and spread out among the total power and energy sold each month to arrive at the everyday power and energy price you have to pay to keep the company profitable.

So no, I don't feel sorry for someone that decides to interconnect to the utility to have to pay a "convenience fee" if you will. They do have an alternative, buy batteries and two way inverters and disconnect from the grid.

Wonder what will happen in 2016 when the subsidies for solar will expire? :p
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
The renewables is also used to meet mandate quotas also, this in-turn alleveates the building of new plants. This is true at least on the west coast.

PV is not an intemittent source in our area. It is not source that can be turned on when needed but it does have a direct correleation to peak loads. Consider peak demand in the summer. Here in CA when it is a hot day the sun is usually shining, if you have PV you can count on this to supplement and OFFSET peak loads. This is all what the renewables like PV are all about.
How about on a cold snowy night when everyone wants to turn on their heat pumps. (do you have them out there?) or maybe their electric heaters?
It may have SOME correlation to peak periods, but it cannot be counted on. What if the sun was shining on an extremely hot day, all the solar was generating full bore trying to keep up and offset demand, and a sudden thunderstorm comes up? Where will the power come from to stop the inevitable brown out, leading to the blackout from relying on solar to offset demand and keep from operating peaking plants?
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
How about on a cold snowy night when everyone wants to turn on their heat pumps. (do you have them out there?) or maybe their electric heaters?
It may have SOME correlation to peak periods, but it cannot be counted on. What if the sun was shining on an extremely hot day, all the solar was generating full bore trying to keep up and offset demand, and a sudden thunderstorm comes up? Where will the power come from to stop the inevitable brown out, leading to the blackout from relying on solar to offset demand and keep from operating peaking plants?
1- From what i have been told by the utility , winter peak is not an issue as there is sufficient power generation available under the base plants as you call them. So not an issue.

2- In Ca It is highly unlikely that an un forcasted thunderstorm will knock out all tyhe PV power resulting in a brown out.

3- This is why Ca is going with smart meters, load shedding and other smart grid systems. ( I am not the biggest fan of this)
 
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jaggedben

Senior Member
Location
Northern California
Occupation
Solar and Energy Storage Installer
When you Net Meter, If you produce enough power to make the meter spin backwards, then the power company is basically paying you the 9-11 cents per kWh it charges a customer. The owner of the store has to pay you to take the bread out of his store is what that amounts to.
The breadman is paying you to bring bread INTO his store! You (the solar system owner) paid your own good money to produce that energy and sell it to the utility, which the utility then sells to your neighbors. In essence, you are trading energy to your neighbors, and the utility is a middle man (like a stock exchange, maybe.) In the case we are discussing, the utility charges a flat rate to maintain the infrastructure that allows you and your neighbor to trade energy. Thus the utility already has an opportunity to profit from its middle-man position. To repeat, if the utility feels that the flat rate does not allow it to make a profit off of its distribution investments (not its generation investments), it can take that up with the regulators. I would have no problem with that, in principle. I could even consider it justified if the utility could charge a small 'commission' per kWh on the trade. A 20% tax is not a reasonable commission, especially considering it actually cost the utility next to nothing to make it possible.

That is why there are base plants, excess plants and peaking plants, and when these peaking plants crank up during peak periods, the energy price can be as high as 11 cents per kWh and the power can cost upwards of $27 (DOLLARS PER kW!) wholesale price. That has to be added in and spread out among the total power and energy sold each month to arrive at the everyday power and energy price you have to pay to keep the company profitable.
The fact that a customer installs solar has no effect whatsoever on the peaking power that might be required to supply that customer at night. N-o-n-e w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r. Dominion has NO additional costs related to supplying these solar customers at night than it did before. And yet that is essentially the justification that Dominion is giving for this 'standby' fee. That is horsedung.

Further, during the day, the solar actually reduces the amount of peaking power the utility needs, thus saving Dominion money. (Eventually there might come a point when excess solar power on Dominion's lines needed to be dumped or stored, at some kind of cost, but Virginia is light-years away from that becoming an issue, and investing in renewable energy infrastructure is not the justification Dominion gave for the new fee.)

This is purely a play by Dominion, parlaying its corporate influence with Virginia legislators, to protect its monopoly on providing energy to the people of Virginia, and to discourage more people from installing solar, because that might cut into Dominion's electrical generation business volume. It is purely anti-competitive and has no justification according to any notion of fair pay, fair play or free market principles, (to say nothing of issues of energy independence or ecology).
 
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jaggedben

Senior Member
Location
Northern California
Occupation
Solar and Energy Storage Installer
One more point...

That would be the average peak power usage for the month. Basically like demand metering. $4.19 per kW isn't a bad price for power.
If $4.19 isn't a bad price for power, maybe the owners of solar systems should be allowed to charge the utility that amount for when their systems export power.
 

mivey

Senior Member
Read the article please. Dominion customers already pay a flat rate connection fee. They are already paying for the service they get.
I read the article. I also looked at Dominion's rates. That flat connection fee is the base customer charge and does not cover for the other services. There are three type costs associated with power use: Customer, demand, and energy. The $7.00 fee covers the costs for reading a meter, rendering a bill, etc.

The fee does not cover distribution costs, standby power costs, or the costs of using the power system as an "energy bank". There is no real "energy bank" and the net metering scheme as most customer picture it is largly a fantasy because the power system operates in real time. Except for some relatively small pumped storage facilities and such, there is no "storage tank" to hold the customer's excess energy.

At best you could say they help meet some of the peak demand, but unfortunately the solar sources are not dependable enough and the POCO still has to build other generation to meet peaks on a cloudy day.

Maybe. Try to make sense of the sentence: "Dominion plans to charge $4.19 per kilowatt for a solar customer's average peak usage of the company's electricity each month." What is 'average peak usage'? Is that only importing, or either peak export or peak import?
It is the power the meter reads when the customer is taking energy from the system.

To repeat, Dominion customers are paying a flat fee to be connected, so they are accepting that part of the 'burden'.
That fee has nothing to do with the burden Dominion wants to charge them for. See above.

The generation that these customers produce is generation that Dominion does not have to produce, so the customers have every right to expect a credit for it under net-metering.
The customer is not replacing any generation yet. There supply is not reliable enough. Let the customer start storing energy in a battery bank and we would be making some progress.

If Dominion feels, due to net-metering and higher penetrations of intermittent sources, that the flat rate fee and generation rates need to be re-adjusted, that could be a valid argument to make to state regulators. This 'standby-fee' is horse-dung.
To those un-learned in cost allocation procedures and rate structures it might appear so, but it is not.

It's really not similar at all.
It really is similar and a pretty good analogy.

A grid-tied solar or wind system has no redundancy and does not cost the utility anything to maintain.
That is because you do not understand how the power system works and how costs are incurred when you tie to it.
 
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