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Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
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Hellojustice
Mueller Community

Posts: 52
Joined on August 16th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by Hellojustice on October 6th, 2012

I received a letter today sent to Residential Solar Customers. Although they tout a new Solar Value Credit, it contains disturbing news - it may be old news to some of you. AE has terminated net billing which means that we solar customers are no longer charged based on the net kwh used. Instead, they will bill on "Whole House Consumption" then give a Solar Credit equal to 12.8 cents per kwh of solar production. The result is they are billing for kwh which are generated by your own solar, consumed by you and then crediting you a Solar Value Credit of 12.8 cents per kwh. The rate per kwh on usage over 500 kwh exceeds the Solar Value Credit. I know this sounds compicated (their intent?) but to demonstrate, I calculated my Sept 11 bill under the new rate structure with and without net billing. My $74.44 bill would have been $98.59 under the new rates (32.4% increase) or if net billing remained it would have been $84.65 under the new rates (13.7% increase). I made an Excel worksheet if anyone wants to see what happens to your bill. I hope someone out there proves me wrong.
 
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GP
Mueller Community

Posts: 282
Joined on September 17th, 2007
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by GP on October 6th, 2012

Hellojustice,

You are correct that AE is now going to a whole-consumption model. When I ran my home for the past year, there were some months where I paid less, and some where I paid more.

The new Solar rate structure is detailed here: http://goo.gl/fJw5P [PDF], on page 4.

There is an important additional consideration as well. The last paragraph of the PDF I mentioned above talks about the Solar credit carry over: "Any amount of solar credit in excess of the customer's total charges for electric service under the residential rate schedule shall be carried forward and applied to the customer's next electric bill. The customer's carry-over credit, if any, shall be reset to zero in the first billing month of each calendar year."
 
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smittyhoo
Mueller Community

Posts: 445
Joined on November 4th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by smittyhoo on October 7th, 2012

Wow, they didn't think that last part through. The winter is when you are pretty much guaranteed to produce more than you use if you are ever because of no AC use. They should do the annual reset October 1 instead. As it is they are guaranteed to get free production from just about every solar array and i.e. disincentivizing new ones. Does anyone have any contacts to get this date fixed?
 
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Audio Video Obsession
Mueller Community

Posts: 21
Joined on September 15th, 2010
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by Audio Video Obsession on October 7th, 2012

So does this mean that AE is going to charge me for every bit of energy I use? Even the Solar Power that I produced and used directly from my panels that didn't get logged as excess power? Is that legal? Isn't that "my" power? And resetting my credits that accrue? Argh!
 
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henningspruth
Mueller Community

Posts: 488
Joined on October 20th, 2007
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by henningspruth on October 7th, 2012

The way I read it they will charge the tiered charge (between 1.8 and 11.4 cents per kWh) plus the regulatory charge (0.73 cents per kWh) plus the power supply adjustment (3.37 cents per kWh) for the whole house consumption, i.e. between 5.9 and 15.5 cents per kWh total.

They will credit 12.8 cents for every kWh produced.

I have not quite wrapped my head around whether this is better or worse than the current model. It seems that if you use less than 1000 kWh a month, it would be easier for the solar credit to cancel out the whole house charges. For example, if you use exactly 1000kWh in the summer, you'd only need 760 kWh of solar production to cancel out all charges.

I agree with smittyhoo that it would be preferable to do the reset in October.

 
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Hellojustice
Mueller Community

Posts: 52
Joined on August 16th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by Hellojustice on October 7th, 2012

The Excel model a made is easy to use. You just have to have your solar production and your net usage and the rest computes automatically. You can see the costs under the current, new and new rates if we still had net billing. I don't think I can attach an Excel file to this posting but if you send me your email in a PM, I will send you my file.
 
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shellrose
Mueller Community

Posts: 230
Joined on June 20th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by shellrose on October 7th, 2012

I'm with Joe - is it legal for AE to charge me for the power I produced? That doesn't sound right?
 
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shelley hiam
Mueller Community

Posts: 56
Joined on June 24th, 2009
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by shelley hiam on October 7th, 2012

"The customer's carry-over credit, if any, shall be reset to zero in the first billing month of each calendar year."

Does this mean that if we produce more power than we consume in a given year, they don't have to pay us for it? That seems like stealing to me. Hopefully "reset to zero" means "we will pay you for any credit remaining at the end of the year."
 
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henningspruth
Mueller Community

Posts: 488
Joined on October 20th, 2007
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by henningspruth on October 7th, 2012

Quote:
"The customer's carry-over credit, if any, shall be reset to zero in the first billing month of each calendar year."

Does this mean that if we produce more power than we consume in a given year, they don't have to pay us for it? That seems like stealing to me. Hopefully "reset to zero" means "we will pay you for any credit remaining at the end of the year."


I'm pretty sure what they're saying is that our credit will be forfeit.

The solar installers stressed the point that the City did not want our houses to be net producers of electricity, but rather cover 80-90% of consumption.

Keep in mind that our monthly surplus is reconciled against the entire electricity bill, which contains about $22 in fixed cost. This will make it slightly harder to accumulate a long term credit (it would be nice, of course, if it was reconciled with the entire utility bill, not just electricity).

 
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danx111
Mueller Community

Posts: 1151
Joined on November 25th, 2008
Austin Energy Rate Increase re:Solar
by danx111 on October 8th, 2012

Here's link to the basis for the new rate structure:

http://www.cleanpower.com/wp-content/uploads/090_DesigningAustinEnergysSolarTariff.pdf

Search for "value of solar"
 
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