To the editor: Kudos to The Times editorial board for revealing the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) shameful responsiveness to the triad of investor-owned utilities in California.
Fearful that their profit margins will decline and their monopolistic hold on the state's power grid will be loosened by competition with renewables, Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric are, in effect, penalizing customers who are utilizing the clean power of the sun.
Penalties imposed by investor-owned utilities, euphemistically labeled "net energy metering," will impede the transition away from fossil fuels that is required for California to meet its climate goals.
The sad truth is that the reduced payments for excess energy generated by rooftop solar will disincentivize our public even more from moving to clean energy. Instead, solar subsidies need to be increased to make rooftop panels affordable for all Californians.
In this climate crisis, a livable environment trumps utility profits.
Tom Osborne, Laguna Beach
To the editor: Thank you for your rational editorial response to a completely irrational CPUC policy. The state will make it harder for people to install rooftop solar while the federal government is subsidizing it, and while expanding rooftop solar is one of California's major goals.
If the CPUC were really interested in helping low- and middle-income folks go solar, they'd make it more financially attractive to them.
The CPUC should focus its policies on preventing further climate chaos rather than preserving utilities' monopoly power.
Cher Gilmore, Newhall
To the editor: While I agree fully with your view that we must not weaken incentives for rooftop solar installation, I also think the point needs to be made that home solar's usefulness is not just climate change mitigation.
It is also important to energy security in the face of terrorism or natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfires.
Carl Allender, Glendale
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.