CALIFORNIA, August 30, 2017 - The California Public Utilities Commission voted to adopt San Diego’s General Rate Case after revising the decision earlier this month. The vote is the first in a series of changes to time-of-use (TOU) rates set to take place statewide over the next two years. Under TOU, rates are higher at periods of peak demand and lower off-peak. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) both criticized the decision as unsupported by the facts in the case, inconsistent with the state’s policies, and detrimental to solar customers. Utilities in California are proposing to move the highest-priced “peak” periods into the evening (4-9 pm or 5-10 pm) from afternoon (e.g., noon-6 pm) peak. Some utility proposals would create super off-peak rates in the middle of the day in spring months, ostensibly to help manage spring hydro runoff and abundant solar production. Lower rates in the daytime would reduce the relative benefit of going solar. The decision dampens a market already depressed by uncertainty about the changing TOU periods. A decision earlier this year set a deadline of July 31 for most new solar projects to connect under the old time-of-use periods. Projects under development and new project development have slowed dramatically. Both SEIA and CALSEIA are seeking a change to the “grandfathering” rules so that project development can continue as rate cases are decided. The decision extends the deadline for schools to August 2018.
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