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schroed
Mueller Community

Posts: 221
Joined on February 7th, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by schroed on September 17th, 2013

Quote:

In as much as the credit is cumulative over a 12-month cycle, it will net out over the 12 months. In other words, your November and December credits may very likely make up for a net deficit you ran through October.
...


Sorry, Dusty, but the only way this argument makes any sense is if we do not pay our electric bills every month when they are due.

Based on experience, we anticipate credits from October through May, and we use them up in the summer. Under the proposed Jan 1 reset, the only way the Oct, Nov, Dec credits from our system can be applied to the months in which we receive a bill is if we refuse to pay our September bill when it is due.

Maybe if we all refuse to pay our September bills, we can get their attention?

[This has been mentioned before, but buying an electric car is also a decent way to use up credits. Our plug-in-Prius only uses about 100 kwh per month, but it has definitely reduced the scope of the credit-reset problem for us.]
 
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jlincove
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Posts: 34
Joined on March 22nd, 2009
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by jlincove on September 17th, 2013

I don't have a credit now, but I think I might by the end of December.

What we need is data on how much credit people had last December that would could carry forward to January. But, if I remember correctly, the new billing didn't start until after January (I admit I don't keep my bills for more than a month), so maybe no one knows how much we might carry forward.

How many houses are making more than use in a year? If it is no one, than the reset is just a way for AE to get some generation for free.

 
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Hellojustice
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Posts: 52
Joined on August 16th, 2008
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by Hellojustice on September 17th, 2013

I like the annual bill concept which could be accomplished by removing the late charge for solar customers. We could let the September bill ride until we get the fall credits or in the case of electric heating, let the Jan/Feb bill wait for Spring credits. AE could set a maximum bill to carry forward - say $100.
 
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danx111
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Joined on November 25th, 2008
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by danx111 on September 17th, 2013

Quote:
I like the annual bill concept which could be accomplished by removing the late charge for solar customers. We could let the September bill ride until we get the fall credits or in the case of electric heating, let the Jan/Feb bill wait for Spring credits. AE could set a maximum bill to carry forward - say $100.


The Value of Solar Tarriff/Credit represents an amount of power solar owners sent to Austin Energy (City of Austin owns AE). Austin Energy sold that power and now wants to avoid compensating solar owners.
 
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langhugh
Mueller Community

Posts: 1149
Joined on August 18th, 2007
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by langhugh on September 18th, 2013

Quote:


Sorry, Dusty, but the only way this argument makes any sense is if we do not pay our electric bills every month when they are due.

Based on experience, we anticipate credits from October through May, and we use them up in the summer. Under the proposed Jan 1 reset, the only way the Oct, Nov, Dec credits from our system can be applied to the months in which we receive a bill is if we refuse to pay our September bill when it is due.

Maybe if we all refuse to pay our September bills, we can get their attention?


Daniel, Betsy, David, Jeffrey,All,

Of course, this is true, and I stand corrected. I spoke as someone who hasn't seen positive electric bill in 12 months, and forgot what they looked like. I knew there was a reason I negotiated with Tim Harvey for the Oct. 1 reset last year. File this under "Oops, I spoke on the internet again."

That said, we should be measured in how hard we poke the golden goose. Follow Aman. He understands measured approaches.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1sHbO-jPUnUaY3cCoKILGovoPZWJT1JHevXojO-X8Gu4/viewform


Dusty

 
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danx111
Mueller Community

Posts: 1151
Joined on November 25th, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by danx111 on September 18th, 2013

Quote:
[quote]

Sorry, Dusty, but the only way this argument makes any sense is if we do not pay our electric bills every month when they are due.

Based on experience, we anticipate credits from October through May, and we use them up in the summer. Under the proposed Jan 1 reset, the only way the Oct, Nov, Dec credits from our system can be applied to the months in which we receive a bill is if we refuse to pay our September bill when it is due.

Maybe if we all refuse to pay our September bills, we can get their attention?
[/quote]

Daniel, Betsy, David, Jeffrey,All,

Of course, this is true, and I stand corrected. I spoke as someone who hasn't seen positive electric bill in 12 months, and forgot what they looked like. I knew there was a reason I negotiated with Tim Harvey for the Oct. 1 reset last year. File this under "Oops, I spoke on the internet again."

That said, we should be measured in how hard we poke the golden goose. Follow Aman. He understands measured approaches.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1sHbO-jPUnUaY3cCoKILGovoPZWJT1JHevXojO-X8Gu4/viewform
Dusty




I'm heavily into the measured approach.
 
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Mike Carroll
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Posts: 68
Joined on April 7th, 2010
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by Mike Carroll on September 18th, 2013

As someone who has contemplated putting solar in, how does this change in billing by AE not act as a disincintive? Maybe this is a simplified view but it seems that AE is effectively stealing three months worth of credit from it's customers. I mean if every year I know that any credit from Oct to Jan 1 will be gone, how does that benefit me?

Why does AE need to "reset" anything? Can they not just let every month's credit or usage roll to the next month? Are they afriad that one day solar might actually "compete" with them?

I'm interested to see how this plays out, as right now it seems (to me) like this new billing method is totally screwing the solar user/consumer.
 
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Lori B
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Joined on December 17th, 2009
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by Lori B on September 18th, 2013

Mike Carroll and danx you are absolutely correct. In the event that you produce more that you use in the last few months of the year, AE will not be compensating you for what you have produced and provided to the system.
I understand AE's dilemma, by applying the credit to the entire bill, there are interdepartmental concerns - is the electric dept of the city (AE) subsidizing the trash department? ARe these credits considered liabilities on the balance sheet?
As a family of five that works hard to be net zero, we would like for our credit to continue to accumulate. At the time that we decide to move or discontinue service, we should be able to contribute to a general fund to help those in need, take the credit with us if we stay in the AE jurisdiction, or apply the credit to the AE account of our choice. The point is we should have options. None of this is accounting wizardry.
I had heard that AE is reluctant to issue checks to homeowners because of accounting issues - if they issue us check for energy produced say annually, will they need to file necessary tax forms just like they have to do with the big players in the ERCOT energy market? Would we have to consider this income?
Any mention of an annual zero out without compensation for energy produced should not be an option for AE. No other provider of electricity to AE would consider this a viable option.
 
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Jeffrey Dwyer
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by Jeffrey Dwyer on September 18th, 2013

Hi Lori,

Interdepartmental concerns? The electric department would not be subsidizing the trash department. The customer would still be paying for the trash pickup with revenue they generated. Credits considered liabilities on the balance sheet? That is exactly what is going to happen in 13 days when AE carries over these credits to their new fiscal year which starts October 1st. Credit continue to accumulate? Why? If you overpay your cable bill, do you also want that credit to continue to accumulate? You want options with your credit, but not until you move or discontinue service? Why wait, you made the solar investment and like your other investments, you should get the return.

There is no need for AE to issue a check for solar credits. They can simply apply it to the other portions of the utility bill, not that a check would be in any way inappropriate. It just would be more costly and waste more paper.

Tax forms? Give me my rebate and a 1099. I can certainly handle the accounting. My system cost $32,500 before rebates and tax credits. I received $23,000 in AE solar rebates over 2 fiscal years and about $2,850 in federal tax credits. That leaves my out-of-pocket-expense at $6,650. By the way, AE knows this information about my system and every other system they have rebated. I anticipate about a $400 credit at year-end. It would take over 16 years of rebates at this amount just to reimburse my net cost for the system. There would no income until after the credits fully reimbursed my out-of-pocket expense. And at 16 years, I will likely be replacing inverters and be out-of-pocket another $4,000 which would be another 10 years of rebates. So, it is very unlikely my system would ever produce a taxable profit over its entire useful life.

The best solution is for AE to simply go back to handling the credits the way they did just 1 year ago. Apply the credit to the other parts of the utility bill. If there are customers who use AE electric, but no other city utilities and they have a credit, then issue a refund check at the end of the AE fiscal year.

The money already being spent by AE to confiscate the credits is probably more than the credits. Tweaking this mess instead of eliminating the issue is likely to cost AE even more. Why spend money trying to make an expensive and unfair policy a little more palatable?

 
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Jeffrey Dwyer
Mueller Community

Posts: 16
Joined on July 25th, 2013
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Jeffrey Dwyer on September 18th, 2013

Hello Mike Carroll,

The vast majority of AE solar customers are unaffected by the solar credit issue. Most solar systems don't produce enough of the home's required energy to ever result in a credit on the bill. Your system would have to produce probably 75% or more of the electricity you require annually before you would have a net annual surplus in dollars.

There is certainly a disincentive to building or remodeling to net zero energy. The incentives effectively are gone once you reach net zero dollars on the electric bill. However, it may be prudent to put in a big array because the marginal cost of an extra 2kW of panels may cost very little more than a smaller system. This was the case for me. I was quoted a 6.3kW system and an 8.2 kW system. The 8.2 kW system was only $150 more than the 6.3 kW system, net of rebates and tax credits. I went with the 8.2kW because of the negligible additional expense and the fact that I wasn't sure 6.3 kW would get me to net zero energy, which was my goal. I would have been better off saving $6000 - $7000 in remodeling costs by building a less efficient structure and using up all the credit, although the home would not be net zero.

This is precisely the problem with the current rebate/confiscation policy. There is incentive to put in a very large array and then save money by not building as efficient a building envelope as possible, because you are going to give away your surplus.

So, don't be discouraged by the "screwing" some of us are getting. Solar can still be a good deal, especially by taking full advantage of the incentives while cutting corners on building efficiency. This is, of course, completely absurd, but nevertheless true.
 
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