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ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
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Rob Clinchard
Mueller Community

Posts: 6
Joined on January 1st, 2011
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Rob Clinchard on December 22nd, 2013

Schroed,
When an entity "steals" over $500 from my family I do not consider it "whining" to inform the rest of my neighbors. You are entitled to your opinion, however, I ask the next time you decide to single me out and insult me, you do it face to face. I live at 3904 Hargis Street. Stop by anytime and we can chat.
 
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schroed
Mueller Community

Posts: 221
Joined on February 7th, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by schroed on December 22nd, 2013

You're right. It was wrong of me to single you out, and I apologize for that. At least you had the guts to admit you did it for the money, without the least concern for the planet or the solvency of our publicly owned utility. Feel free to respond to the remainder of my argument, which I stand behind.
 
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Elliot Johnson
Mueller Community

Posts: 20
Joined on August 28th, 2013
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Elliot Johnson on December 22nd, 2013

Wow

Let's try to stay positive.

The original meeting that started this thread occurred in muellar, it also included solar austin, and those affected.

Quite a few of your neighbors have high credit,your neighbors attended the EUC meeting. You are welcome to come attend any of those meetings. The KXAN interview occurred at your neighbors house.

3 EUC members have serious concerns about the 10.7 cent VOS but more importantly how AE handled it the update.

If you don't agree no worries. That the cool thing about freedom of speech.
 
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Cyndy Dwyer
Mueller Community

Posts: 75
Joined on June 25th, 2011
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Cyndy Dwyer on December 23rd, 2013


We have a small solar array that I would like to add to. I would love to generate enough solar energy that we are neutral but seeing how everyone is having so many issues with AE i am reluctant.


Has anyone considered turning off your solar at some point during the year? AE is benefitting from our solar production. If homeowners systematically turn off their solar a couple of times a year the amount of solar credit that AE can steal is far less than the current situation. AE can't have it both ways. Consider a solar strike. From past bills homeowners know what their panels produce on a month to month basis.

My two cents.


 
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paulsjv
Mueller Community

Posts: 191
Joined on September 5th, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by paulsjv on December 23rd, 2013

I like the strike idea especially during the summer prime hours!

Alternatively we could all by a battery backup and cut AE out entirely! That would be my ideal. :D
 
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Cyndy Dwyer
Mueller Community

Posts: 75
Joined on June 25th, 2011
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Cyndy Dwyer on December 23rd, 2013

Soloar owners in Hawaii are working through the battery backups now. We can follow their example if it comes to that.

AE uses the solar generated from Mueller as part of their yearly projections. If we take back our solar by reducing the amount of solar "given" to AE at the end of the year they will feel the hit. Their projections will be off and they will need to buy power at a higher rate. Money talks.

Reliant got stung a couple of years ago when they didn't project their need correctly. They had to buy power from the grid at much higher rates during peak summer hours. Reliant had to release all of their independent contractors to cover their losses.

My husband has worked at serval different energy companies and knows the drill.

Logic is not working with AE. Take your solar power back.
 
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Elliot Johnson
Mueller Community

Posts: 20
Joined on August 28th, 2013
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Elliot Johnson on December 23rd, 2013

Unless you plan on paying back your rebate to AE.

You need to review the contract and terms of the Solar Rebate Program. Paraphrasing, It states that you will maintain your solar panels for 20 years at the address and it expressly prohibits battery backups. If you fail to, you could be required to payback the prorated rebate. I have not looked at the language from the panels that I installed in 2007.

Our only bet is going to be to organize and convince the City Council that its a poor idea, politically to treat solar customers this way.

I think when solar folks start seeing their bills early next year, we will have a lot more folks that will help speak out to the council.
 
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commuter
Mueller Community

Posts: 147
Joined on January 23rd, 2008
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by commuter on December 26th, 2013

A couple of Bloomberg Stories on How and Why traditional Utilities first tried to promote solar, and are now scared of it, and how they plan on reacting.

Apparently in Hawaii, they are limiting new installs of grid-tied systems. Some of it is under the guise of technical feasibility studies, which may or may not be legitimate.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-26/utilities-feeling-rooftop-solar-heat-start-fighting-back.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-24/utilities-mimic-cable-with-monthly-fee-to-preserve-grid.html
 
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langhugh
Mueller Community

Posts: 1149
Joined on August 18th, 2007
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by langhugh on January 9th, 2014

Here'a an update from the Chronicle. Did anyone follow the meeting that took place this morning?

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-01-10/then-theres-this-clouds-over-solar/
 
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Jeffrey Dwyer
Mueller Community

Posts: 16
Joined on July 25th, 2013
ATTENTION: SOLAR OWNERS!
by Jeffrey Dwyer on January 28th, 2014

Hi All,

Following is a letter I sent yesterday to Larry Weis, Juwana Gutierrez, Deborah Kimberly and Kurt Stogdill, all of whom work at Austin Energy. I also sent it to the City Manager, Mayor and all of the Councilmembers.


Jeffrey T. Dwyer
2415 Campden Drive
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 440-7511
jeffreytd@earthlink.net
AE Account # 73860 XXXXX

January 27, 2014


Dear Ms. Kimberly,
Thank you for taking time to speak with me following the recent meeting of the Emerging Technology & Telecommunications Committee.
I thought it was prudent to document some of my concerns in writing and forward them to you.
1. I was in error about being an over-producer of electricity for my home. It had been some time since I looked at my electric meter to see precisely how much energy my solar PV system produced relative to my on-site consumption. As of 9:29 AM on January 27, 2014 my meter shows net consumption of 619 kWh. My meter was changed out one time after the initial meter was set upon activation of my solar PV system. I believe that meter showed a surplus of about 365 kWh. If that figure is precise, then I have consumed 254 kWh more than I have produced from November 16, 2011 through 9:29 AM on January 27, 2014. This is true in spite of the fact that my solar system has produced over 30kWh for 14 of the 26 days of the month so far. This January will be the best January for solar PV production at my home. The amount of my electric bill, printed on December 23, 2013, before reset, was -$300.95. I wanted to bring this to your attention because you physically winced when I stated that I was a slight overproducer of electricity, which made me feel that perhaps you were less concerned about my issues than you might have been if I were a net consumer of electrical resources, WHICH I AM. I only produce about 99% of what I consume.
2. Please stop the misinformation about the IRS. I received your letter dated January 22, 2014. You continue to strongly suggest that the VoS reset is necessary, in part, to avoid “federal tax implications”. However, you made it clear in your statement before the committee on January 15th that you were not a tax expert. I am not a tax expert either, but I do know a few things. First, a 1099 is only required when a payment of $600 or more is made in a single calendar year. This is stated quite clearly in the 1099 instructions. Your testimony indicated that the average surplus was about $400 per customer for those affected. So, AE could return the money for all customers, whose surplus was less than $600 without any obligation to issue 1099s. And AE could cap the annual surplus check at $599 for those who generated a greater surplus, to avoid the 1099 issue altogether. Also, the 80/20 rule as it has been described to me is that a residential solar system is eligible for federal tax credits if at least 80% of the kWh generated is used on-site. It does not have anything to do with total revenue generated or how that revenue is divided between the utility and the customer. So, if AE is truly concerned about federal tax credits, AE should immediately identify those who overproduced by 25% or more and counsel them on modifying their system to get below that threshold. Do any of AE’s solar PV customers currently overproduce by 25% or more? Finally, there is a difference in revenue and profit. The cost for my system ($32,500) after AE rebates ($23,000) and the 30% federal tax credit ($2900) is about $6600 net. If I had a $400 annual credit for 16 years, I would still not have any “federal tax implications” as I would only have received $6400 for a system that had a net cost of $6600. By that time, I would almost certainly have had to replace my inverters at a cost of probably $4000 (although the business case presented to me by Circular Energy estimated inverter replacement at $5854 in year 16). It would take another 10 years of $400 annual surpluses to nearly cover my net expense. At this point the system would be 26 years old. This also assumes there is no other maintenance or repair expense to other system components over the years. The bottom line is that it is unlikely that my solar PV system would ever return a profit. But if it did, I am sure my accountant is more than capable of figuring out the small amount of tax that would be owed. If AE is going to continue to invoke the IRS and “federal tax implications” in formulating its policies, then AE needs to make a formal inquiry to the IRS for a definitive ruling on these specific issues.
3. Austin Energy doesn’t incentivize customers to build to zero-net energy. If, for customers like myself who are virtually net-zero, AE confiscates the surplus solar credit, then there is no incentive to build/remodel to net zero kWh. The incentive stops at net-zero dollars on the electrical bill. The -$300.95 that was reset to zero on my account represents about 2350kWh. If I had sized my system to produce that much less annually, my meter would currently show net consumption of over 5000 kWh, which would be much father from a net-zero user than I am now.
4. There is no need for 2 bills each month. AE, for years before VoS was implemented, was able to issue a single bill for all utility services provided, including bills to solar PV customers. They were, obviously, then able to allocate the appropriate portions of the payment to the appropriate departments: electrical, water, garbage collection and street cleaning, including the application of surplus dollars from the electrical service to the other services. The separate bills represent a costly, tree-wasting by-product of the reset.
5. There is no incentive for additional conservation. I could probably conserve a little more than I currently do, but there is no incentive, as those efforts would simply result in a larger forfeited surplus at year’s end. The best way to truly conserve is for solar customers to use as little energy as practical and then shut down their inverters for an appropriate amount of time to cancel out the surplus. After all, I am sure AE does not produce any more energy than they can sell into the grid, because it would be fiscally irresponsible to do so.
6. Natural Gas prices are at a 3-1/2 year high just 24 days into the 10.7¢ VoS. The following url is a link to a New York Times article discussing this fact and the prediction of an industry expert that “it was “highly unlikely” that gas prices would go below $4 per thousand cubic feet for the rest of the year despite the near-record domestic gas production.” This is perhaps the best argument for a multi-year level VoS. AE locked the natural gas price on an arbitrary date for purposes of computing the VoS that is already highly inaccurate of current and foreseeable market conditions. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/business/energy-environment/natural-gas-market-heats-up-as-temperatures-fall.html?_r=0
7. AE needs to protect its solar PV customers from non-refundable, over-billing. Because of the January 1 reset date, some solar PV customers, like myself are net consumers of electricity for the months of January and February because we heat with electricity at a time of year when our solar systems produce less energy. I have been told that if I make the payments for the electricity I consume in those months, that the money will not be refunded later in the year when I have a surplus that exceeds those payments. I have also been told that my service is subject to disconnect if those payments are not received when due. This is perhaps the most egregious of the many consequences of the reset policy. AE knows what my production and consumption are for the last 2 full calendar years. AE knows that if I consume the same amount and produce the same amount this year that I will be in surplus, even at the now lower 10.7¢ VoS. AE needs to address this immediately. If I do not pay the January and February electric bills, it is likely, and highly ironic, that I would be disconnected sometime in March or April, when my system produces its largest monthly surpluses.
8. Many current VoS assumptions leading to the 10.7¢ rate are wrong. Not only is the assumption of natural gas prices already demonstrably wrong, but also the assumption that the useful life of solar PV system is only 25 years. You indicated to the committee that your assumption of a 25-year system life was based on 25-year panel warranties and 10-year inverter warranties. My panels are warranted for 25 years, but my inverters are warranted for 15 years. It is likely that inverters would need to be replaced over the life of the system, but not the panels. Automobiles typically come with a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty. It is normal in the vast majority of cases to get many more years of use from them after the warranty expires and the same is expected for solar panels.
I did a lot of research before remodeling my home. I earned additional points with AEGB for remodeling an existing home as opposed to building new. I came within 1% of achieving net-zero. I have tried to exhibit all of the behaviors that seemed to be encouraged by AE and AEGB. Yet, I feel maligned by AE because of its policies.
Please use my account number above to prepare a case study on how AE actually treats net-zero or near net-zero customers and to verify the representations I make about my usage. I would also greatly appreciate feedback on my concerns as outlined above.
Respectfully,

Jeffrey T. Dwyer
 
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