Solar supporters protest what they call SDG&E greed - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Solar supporters protest what they call SDG&E greed

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Dozens of solar energy supporters rallied at SDG&E headquarters Wednesday protesting what they say is greed on the part of the energy utility company. 

Protesters say they are upset that SDG&E and other companies are trying to reduce the amount of money rooftop solar customers are paid for their excess electricity. 

The California Public Utility Commission voted 3 to 2 in January to keep what's known as net metering, a policy that pays rooftop solar customers retail rates for the excess electricity their systems send back to the grid. But SDG&E and other Southern California utility companies are now asking the Public Utility Commission to change that ruling so that utilities only have to pay much lower wholesale rates. 

"It's a threat to their monopoly"," said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. 

Jacob says SDG&E is upset because they make less money off solar customers. However, SDG&E says the real problem is that when solar customers pay less, non-solar customers are forced to make up the difference, which they claim is unfair since solar customers need SDG&E's power overnight. 

"When you have customers who aren't paying for a certain amount for the energy they're receiving from a reliable electric grid - you have the other customers who end up footing the bill," said SDG&E representative Amber Albrecht. 

Albrecht says non-solar customers could eventually see their bills jump $300 a year to make up the difference, but Jacob doesn't believe it. 

"SDG&E is going to use any fallacious arguments that they can come up with. That may sound good, but it may not be true," said Jacob. 

The Public Utility Commission now how 120 days to respond to the requests for a new hearing. 

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