Demonstrators say SDG&E is trying to stop solar - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Demonstrators say SDG&E is trying to stop solar

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Advocates of solar energy are upset with SDG&E, and on Wednesday, they made their voices heard. 

Advocates are concerned the utility company is trying to undermine the rooftop solar industry, and prevent people from installing solar panels at their houses. 

Wednesday's rally was to protest SDG&E's proposed changes to net energy metering, or how rooftop solar customers are billed. 

"The proposals include lowering the rate solar producers are credited for the energy they put on the grid, introducing fixed fees, demand charges for the energy that's exported onto the grid," said Erica Johnson with Sullivan Solar Power. 

Opponents said with the added costs, it simply would not make sense to go solar. 

"Basically, the utilities are trying to kill the financial economics of solar so consumers don't have a choice and they stay with the utility," said Sullivan. 

For Carlsbad High senior Jesica Walls, it's the long term impact she is worried about.

"I want my grandchildren to be able to live in an area where there's bees to pollinate the environment. A place where it's clean and renewable energy," said Walls. 

SDG&E said the current metering system was set up 20-years ago, and it was made to incentivize going solar back when it was very expensive. 

"Now we've seen the cost of that technology come down, and the number of adoptions go up. Meaning, more customers are putting solar on their roof, so the industry is really ready to stand on it's own," said Amber Albrecht, with SDG&E. 

SDG&E also said the current solar grid costs money to maintain and someone has to pay for that. 

"The reason this matters, the reason everyone should be interested in net energy metering reform for the 96% of customers who don't have solar is they're paying an extra $8 a month on their electricity bill to subsidize the growth of the solar industry," said Albrecht. 

A number that could grow to $30 a month by 2025 if something does not change. 

The California Public Utilities Commission will make a final decision on SDG&E proposal, and its expected it will be made by the end of the year.

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