A representative from Rocky Mountain Power insists that rates for solar users must change and that the company is not antagonistic toward green energy providers.
Paul Murphy, external communications director for Rocky Mountain Power, explained that once the utility company found out just how much non-solar customers were subsidizing rooftop solar use, a change needed to be made.
“The typical Utah rooftop solar customer was receiving about $400 in subsidies from other customers. We have proposed a rate change that, for future rooftop solar customers, they would pay less for the energy they use from us but they would also be credited at that same amount for the energy that they produce,” Murphy said. “Their monthly bills would closely reflect services they use. Rather than being subsidized, they would essentially just pay what they’re using.”
The total amount of subsidies comes to about $6.5 million a year. According to Murphy, those subsidies grow as more Utahns choose to install rooftop solar panels. He insisted that while Rocky Mountain Power supported tax subsidies for solar power, rates should change in order to maintain sustainability.
“Rocky Mountain Power has been meeting with rooftop solar developers, environmentalists, and other stakeholders to see if we can reach some sort of a settlement or agreement that would ensure that the solar industry has a bright future here in Utah,” he said. “Right now, we think that way that the rates are set up, rooftop solar is not sustainable here in Utah. At some point you will have so many customers using rooftop solar that it will create a really huge financial burden on their customers.”
The Utah Public Service Commission will evaluate the rate change proposal and make a decision this August.