Public Utilities Commission to SDG&E: Remove solar network use charge

SDG&E, a longtime proponent of energy efficiency and solar energy in particular, raised controversy after proposing a “network use charge” for solar customers. Following a protest at the opening of the new Energy Innovation Center (an educational facility established by SDG&E to educate consumers), the Public Utilities Commission rejected the utility company’s proposed charge.

In October, SDG&E proposed to the California Public Utilities Commission that it be allowed to unbundle electricity rates to split the charges for the electric commodity and the charge for distributing that commodity, called a “network use charge,” sometimes referred to as an NUC. The charge would have had limited impact on traditional customers’ bills, but it would have added substantially to bills of residential and commercial customers with solar generators. Mark Ferron, the commissioner overseeing the proceeding, said the new charge violated key elements of state law.

“The NUC is outside of the scope of this proceeding,” Ferron wrote. “Therefore, SDG&E shall submit a revised rate design proposal and updated testimony that does not include the NUC.”